The Region II Crisis Care Center will be accessible 24/7/365 for all individuals in central Alabama experiencing a psychiatric, behavioral, and/or substance use crisis. The Region II Crisis Care Center will be a secured facility consisting of 32 temporary observation beds and 16 extended observation beds. The temporary observation beds will be shared equally amongst those experiencing a substance use crisis and a mental health crisis. The beds will have a 23-hour maximum length of stay and can be modified to accommodate the population in greatest need at that time. This flexibility will be critical in managing the varying needs of individuals from day to day. There will be 16 extended observation beds planned for a 1 to 3 days length of stay. In the event the individual remains unstable after three days, they will be reassessed by the interdisciplinary team to determine if additional time at the Crisis Care Center will lead to stability or if linkage to an inpatient psychiatric bed is needed.
JBS Executive Director, Jim Crego, states, “ When deputies respond to people in crisis today, they have two options: Take the person to jail or to the emergency room. Taking a person to the emergency department can take a deputy off the street for several hours as they wait for the individual to be admitted. Taking them to jail requires a felony charge that can take weeks to process through the court system.” The Crisis Care Center will now be the forefront in options and allow individuals in crisis to get treatment immediately. Data from the sheriff’s office shows that the jail houses approximately 200 individuals every month due to actions stemming from substance use and another 40 individuals who need treatment for mental illness. These individuals could easily be directed to the Crisis Care Center for appropriate and immediate treatment, while also insuring a safe placement. Law enforcement will be able to bring these individuals to the Crisis Care Center for treatment and return to patrol in 15 minutes or less.
The development and submission of the Request for Proposal (RFP) was truly a community effort. An executive committee made up of 11 stakeholders met weekly from April 2021 until July 2021 when the RFP was submitted to the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH). The executive committee members are Jim Crego, Executive Director, JBS Mental Health Authority; Meaghan Bourque, LPC, Clinician, JBS Mental Health Authority; Malissa Galliher, LPC, Clinical Director, JBS Mental Health Authority; Brandon Johnson, City of Birmingham; Tony Petelos, County Manager, Jefferson County-Retired; Wayne Rogers, Executive Assistant to Sheriff Mark Pettway; Susan Sallin, President, NAMI Birmingham; Dr. James Meador-Woodruff, Senior Vice President for Mental Health Services, UAB Health System; Chris Retan, Executive Director, Aletheia House; Kim Wigley, LPC, Administrative Director Behavioral Health St. Vincent’s East; Honorable Stephen Wallace, Judge, Jefferson County Circuit Court. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to each member of the executive committee for their dedication, expertise, leadership, and commitment to make the Region II Crisis Care Center a reality in Jefferson County.
The Region II Crisis Care Center will be located at 401 Beacon Parkway West, Birmingham, AL 35209. ADMH has designated Region II to include 20 counties in the central band of the state, stretching from Georgia to Mississippi. The Crisis Care Center was awarded to JBS on October 4, 2021 and expects the service to be in operation no later than May 1, 2022.