Sarpy County Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center: FAQ

Sarpy County

Sarpy County Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center: FAQ

February 22, 2019
Sarpy County Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Center concept

Sarpy County Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center
Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Emergency Crisis Stabilization Center?
A stabilization center is a medical facility where people experiencing mental health crises receive short-term care and treatment before being transferred to a longer-term program. Those options include residential treatment facilities and outpatient programs. If a person is facing a serious criminal charge, they may be transferred to a correctional facility.
What type of services are offered at this type of facility?
Services may consist of assessment, diagnosis, abbreviated treatment planning, observation, case management, individual and group counseling, skills training, prescribing and monitoring of psychotropic medication, referrals and linkage. Service delivery is offered on a 24-hour basis to address the person’s immediate safety needs, develop resilience and create a plan to address the cyclical nature of behavioral health challenges and future behavioral health crises.

Why is this type of facility needed in Sarpy County?
Currently there is no mental health facility of this type in Sarpy County. As a result, people experiencing mental health crises often end up in the county jail, which is neither designed nor equipped to treat them. Hospital emergency rooms also deal with people in crisis, but the wait to see a mental health practitioner can be hours, allowing the person’s condition to further deteriorate.
Who will use the facility?
The facility will be available to all law enforcement agencies in the Region 6 Behavioral Health area. In addition to Sarpy County, this includes Cass, Douglas, Dodge and Washington counties. If space and staffing levels allow, it may be opened to other agencies.
Will the stabilization center take walk-ins? Can family members bring people there?
The primary use for the facility will be for those who come in contact with law enforcement. However, we are very early in the process of developing the operational plan for the facility and don’t want to rule out any possibilities at this time. As we build partnerships with various organizations and service providers, more options may become available. We don’t want to rule out any good idea this early in the process.
Will you treat adults and children?
The initial plan for the facility will be to treat adults. However, as we build partnerships with various organizations and service providers, more options may become available in the future. We want to remain open to good ideas.
What happens when a person is stabilized? Will they just be released?
A term we often hear is “treat and street.” First, we don’t like that term. Second, that is not our intention with this facility. The stabilization center will be the initial phase of care, where people dealing with crisis are stabilized, then connected with the next phase of treatment. That could be a longer-term facility, outpatient programs or other follow-up services. If the person is facing serious criminal charges, they will be transferred to a correctional facility.
What’s the end game? What is the ultimate goal of the facility?
Ultimately, the County hopes to improve mental health care in Sarpy County. Our jails and emergency rooms have become de facto treatment facilities. That does nothing but criminalize a medical issue and continue the cycle where people fall into crisis and find themselves dealing with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. We want to break that cycle by providing initial, stabilizing treatment and finding follow-up care and services.
Where does the County intend to build the stabilization center?
Sarpy County purchased 6 acres of land near Nebraska Medicine Bellevue to hold the facility. It is near 25th Street and Highway 370, though it isn’t directly at the corner. The land is approximately a quarter- to a half-mile south of the intersection.
Did the County look at other properties? How about vacant buildings?
Sarpy County officials looked at a number of properties across the county, including existing buildings. However, no vacant building met the space and configuration needs without extensive renovation, which can often cost as much as or more than a new building. By building our own facility, we can ensure that it meets our needs now and in the future, which is particularly important in a growing county. It also allows us to include space for other service providers and programs.
Why this location?
This site has a number of advantages. It is close to a major medical facility and easily accessible from Highways 370 and 75. Also, Bellevue is the largest city in the county, so it makes sense to put the facility where the population is centered. If you mapped all of the Emergency Crisis Response Team calls, this facility is centrally located within the response area.
What will the building look like?
The short answer is: we don’t know yet. We have a few sketches of what the facility could look like, but those are based on generic specifications. Now that we have a site and are developing the operating plan, we can design the facility to our exact specifications and needs. It will look like a medical building, not a correctional facility.
How much will it cost?
Based on initial estimates of space needs, the building is estimated to cost between $10-$13 million. Those costs could change as more formal plans for the location and building are finalized.
How will the County pay for the facility?
Sarpy County purchased the land for $1 million. Moving forward, we intend to pursue a public-private partnership model, where we engage private companies and other government agencies to help us build and operate the facility so it doesn’t fall entirely on the taxpayers. This may include partnerships with medical providers, service organizations and other government entities. User fees from outside agencies as well as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance reimbursements will also offset some of the costs.
Will the building be secure? Will it be safe?
The stabilization center will be a medical facility, not a jail. However, because it’s primary purpose will be to stabilize those who come in contact with law enforcement, including those who are facing criminal charges, it will be a secure facility. Security will be a focus throughout the planning, design and implementation phases.
Will the building hurt neighboring property values?
This will be a stand-alone medical facility built adjacent to a hospital. Nearby residential property values should not be affected. The presence of the stabilization center could make nearby commercial properties more attractive to other medical and service providers, increasing the value of nearby vacant properties.