Mobile Outreach services

The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS or Department), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), is requesting proposals from eligible applicants to provide Mobile Outreach services for the State of Alaska in a partial year FY2023. Program Services are authorized under 7 AAC 78 Grant Programs. Additional governing statutes are AS 47.30.520-620 Community Mental Health Services Act, 7 AAC 70 Behavioral Health Services, 7 AAC 135 Medicaid Coverage for Behavioral Health Services, AS 47.37 Uniform Alcoholism and Intoxication Treatment Act, AS 47.30.655-.915 Alaska Civil Commitment Statutes, 7 AAC 70 Behavioral Health Services, 7 AAC 135 Medicaid Coverage Behavioral Health Services, 7 AAC 138 115 Substance Use Disorder Waiver Services, 7 AAC 139 1115 Behavioral Health Waiver Services, and 7 AAC 160 Medicaid Program: General Provisions. State of Alaska statutes and regulations are accessible at the Department of Law Document Library or through the contact person identified on the cover page of this Request for Proposals (RFP).

In the proposed State Fiscal Year 2023 budget the Department of Health and Social Services will be reorganized into two distinct executive branch Departments: the Department of Health and the Department of Family and Community Services. This re-organization will be effective July 1, 2022 which is the first day of State Fiscal Year 2023. 

The Division of Behavioral Health recognizes the need to support agencies in the early development of standing up mobile crisis outreach response services particularly in small communities. Many of the larger hub communities have funding mechanisms and resources in place to support the development of services along the crisis services continuum, however smaller communities require resources in the purchasing of vehicles, telehealth, and other equipment to develop mobile crisis outreach response services.  This request for proposal is for up to two grant awards that will fund mobile crisis outreach projects statewide with a service location in an area with a population of less than 30,000 as defined solely by the 2021 Population Estimates by borough, Census Area and Economic Region listed at the Department of Labor Workforce Development website.

Currently psychiatric emergencies are responded to by roughly 33 providers across the State who receive grant funding to work in tandem with local hospitals, law enforcement, and court systems to address the behavioral health crises. These providers report they are often understaffed, and their services are utilized heavily within their respective communities. The collaboration between the hospitals, law enforcement, and court system is sometimes strained due to staff turnover, workforce shortages, and limited knowledge about local and statewide resources.  With the implementation of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver Demonstration project, crisis stabilization services were added to the Behavioral Health Continuum services including mobile crisis outreach. It is essential that mobile crisis outreach programs work with local law enforcement, first responders, and psychiatric emergency service providers as well as other community behavioral health providers. 

Mobile Crisis Outreach Response services are essential to the crisis continuum in mitigating the severity and escalation of behavioral health related crises. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals are experiencing more behavioral health related conditions to varying degrees, some of which require crisis intervention. Deploying crisis mobile outreach response teams replaces the over reliance of emergency departments and higher acute psychiatric settings in a system where there is already significant strain on capacity due to COVID.  Behavioral health crises can be responded to appropriately and at times more effectively by professionals on a mobile crisis response team than in other medical settings. The goal is for the team to stabilize the crisis and to link the individual to the appropriate level of care including outpatient services for continued support and treatment if indicated. 

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