Throughout California, the need for additional behavioral health support is self-evident. Our emergency department teams regularly care for all their patients with as much dignity and love as they have, and we have all seen the toll this care can take on our caregivers.
Last Friday, Mad River Community Hospital received a letter announcing the award of a $12.3 million Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Project (BHCIP) grant from the Department of Health Care Services to build new crisis support services in Humboldt County. The journey to this game-changing grant started about a year ago when Hospital Council and thought partner Verily convened meetings with Mad River, Providence St. Joseph’s, and SoHum Health, along with local law enforcement, representatives from the federally qualified health centers, CalPoly Humboldt State, and Humboldt County Health Services to talk about what could be done to meet the needs of behavioral health patients in our area emergency departments.
Throughout the yearlong effort, Dr. Ruby Bayan and Jeremy Campbell of Waterfront Recovery Services shared a proposal they’d begun pre-COVID to expand their substance abuse support, which is transformative in its own right. The group was also able to receive feedback from several local tribes on what specific services would best support their members. This collaborative effort leveraged Verily’s OneFifteen learnings to build out Waterfront’s concept paper and visited BeWell in Orange County to visualize what a comprehensive center that serves both mental illness and substance use disorder would look like. Six months after the first meeting, the group had a solid plan for a crisis triage center and an ambitious goal to successfully petition the February round of BHCIP applications (crisis continuum of care).
In just 12 months, this collaboration went from ideation over bagels to a multimillion-dollar crisis triage project with a shovel-ready site adjacent to Mad River, a winning application that stood out among 118 applicants.
Hospital Council is proud to be a catalyst, partner, and supporter of a great project like this in Humboldt County. This work embodies one of the highest goals any of us can hold for our health care system — to provide patients with the right care, at the right time, in the right place.