We are pleased to share with you that Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care has recently implemented a new Forensic Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team under the direction of Community Bridges. The new FACT team will address the unique needs of people who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness and who have had involvement with the criminal justice system.
FACT is designed to reduce recidivism and assist our highest-need members with a full array of community-based supports and services delivered in a wrap-around model so they can achieve their recovery goals and maintain in the community.
The Community Bridges team is one of four Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams that Mercy Maricopa intends to add to the system in FY15 and it will be the RBHA’s second FACT team. The new 13-member team will complement the work of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority’s existing FACT team, operated by People of Color Network, by using the evidence based practice to:
Identify and engage members with complex, high needs;
Remove barriers to services and supports;
Address the whole person and provide a full range of community-based services and supports wherever and whenever they are needed;
Reduce hospitalizations and contact with the criminal-justice system, improve health outcomes and help establish and strengthen natural community supports.
FACT team members have experience in psychiatry, nursing, social work, rehabilitation services, substance-abuse interventions, employment support, independent-living skills and housing. A key member of the team is a peer who has lived experience with behavioral health challenges and prior interaction with the criminal justice system.
The team will assist members with following treatment plans, activities of daily living, employment-related services, finding and maintaining affordable housing, budgeting, obtaining benefits and engaging in community activities, delivering services in accordance with SAMHSA evidence-based practices.
Discussions with system partners, providers and the community, supported by evidence in the ADHS Service Capacity Assessment Priority Service Areas Report, clearly demonstrated the need for an additional FACT team. Studies have shown that members served on FACT teams experience significant reductions in arrests, jail days, hospital days and hospitalizations.
Community Bridges has a long history of significant experience with this population, including work with the chronically homeless in Project H3 and Project H3 Vets, and at its crisis stabilization and detox facilities. Community Bridges already partners with the criminal-justice system and law-enforcement, and is well prepared to identify members and accept referrals from these systems, as well as from hospitals, clinics and the crisis system.
“It’s a population that Community Bridges is passionate about. It’s a population that we’ve had good success with,” said Chief Operations Officer John Hogeboom. “We’ve had relationships with these folks, so when the opportunity presented itself we jumped at it.”
Currently, 15 ACT teams across Maricopa County are available to serve 1,500 members. In FY14, these teams served approximately 1,360 members, which a vacancy rate of 8 percent. Like the other teams, the new Community Bridges FACT team will serve 100 members, bringing the total program capacity to 1,600 members. By the end of FY15, 19 teams will be in place with the capacity to serve 1,900 members. Four additional teams are planned for FY16.
As Mercy Maricopa expands the number of ACT teams, we will work with providers and stakeholders to determine the need for additional specialty teams, targeted provider education and technical assistance. We continue to provide ongoing technical support to ACT team providers to improve member engagement strategies and ensure fidelity to SAMHSA evidence based practice.
“Expanding the capacity of this critical program holds tremendous promise to make a real difference in the lives of the members we serve and their families, as well as significantly impact the health-care, crisis and criminal justice systems, and the overall community,” said Tad Gary, chief clinical officer for Mercy Maricopa. “Through this collaborative effort, we will help more people break the cycle of incarceration, homelessness and hospitalization so they can achieve their life goals.”
For additional information about the new FACT team, the ACT model or readiness reviews, please contact Alisa Randall at firstname.lastname@example.org or Crystal Domblisky-Klein at email@example.com.