Mobile Integrated Health Program
The goal of this program is to reduce the over-utilization of emergency services by addressing the root cause of the issues leading to consistent 9-1-1 calls.
In the fall of 2020, Mayor Tolbert convened a group to discuss the development of a Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program. Dr. Kaitlyn Goubeau, assisted in the development of a proposal to Senator Wagoner. This proposal was added to a bill and funding to support this program was approved.
Today, Center for Justice Social Work (CJSW) works directly with Mayor Tolbert to implement the Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program. CJSW receives referrals from Arlington Police Department and North County Regional Fire Authority to assist community members in need of behavioral health or social supports. The social workers provide de-escalation, crisis intervention, biopsychosocial assessment, brief therapeutic intervention, case management, assist with ITA paperwork, coordinate with hospital and DCR staff, and coordinate services for the individual moving forward.
Center for Justice Social Work https://www.cjsw.org/our-programs
March 2, 2022
City of Arlington Partners with The Center for Justice Social Work and North County Regional Fire Authority to Decrease Unnecessary 911 Calls and Increase Therapeutic Response for Community Members Facing Behavioral Health Challenges
The State of Washington granted the City of Arlington $750,000 for a two-year pilot program to demonstrate how providing integrated social services to community members can decrease the use of 911 emergency calls for non-emergent requests.
How the program works:
The Center for Justice Social Work (CJSW) receives referrals from Arlington Police Department and North County Regional Fire Authority to assist community members in need of behavioral health and/or social supports. CJSW social workers provide 24/7 services (as appropriate) including de-escalation, crisis intervention, biopsychosocial assessment, brief therapeutic intervention, case management, assistance with Involuntary Treatment Act documents, coordination with hospitals and Designated Crisis Responders, and coordination of services for clients moving forward.
The goal of this program is to reduce the over-use of emergency services by addressing the root cause of the issues leading to consistent 911 calls. Services and service coordination provided by Center for Justice Social Work are free of charge to the clients.
Dr. Kaitlyn Goubeau, LICSW, with CJSW explains, “Every community member deserves to feel safe in their home and in their community. As such, we utilize the 911 system when we are feeling unsafe. However, safety does not just include safe from harm or crime; rather, it also includes being safe from the dangers related to mental health, substance use, homelessness, among other social challenges. Our officers, fire fighters, and EMS crews work hard each day to keep us safe, but shouldn’t be tasked with also responding to, and intervening in, situations involving behavioral and social challenges. The best way to support each other is by increasing the presence of social workers to assist in the emergency response system. CJSW partners closely with the City, North County Regional Fire Authority, and Arlington Police to provide follow-up care and intervention to community members who are falling between the cracks of the behavioral health system.”
North County Fire Chief John Cermak noted, “Mental health intervention is a hole in emergency services that impacts the entire emergency response system. Frequently, 911 users do not require emergency department visits, but do require mental health interventions, and other non-emergency assistance. Emergency medical crews, traditionally, are only allowed to transport patients to emergency rooms. The emergency departments often refer these patients to social workers; however, they still process through the emergency departments, sometimes multiple times, before connecting with a social worker. This program removes a step, and reduces the impact to law enforcement, emergency medical services, and emergency departments, which is better for those services, and ultimately, best for the customer who needs the service.”
Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura agreed, saying, “With the recent changes in police engagement laws, having social workers available relieves those demands on our officers.”
The program has three main goals:
- Reduce overutilization of 911 and demands on police and emergency response resources by supporting community members by obtaining resources to address the root cause of their 911 use.
- Provide resources and support to community members to move toward self-sufficiency
- Provide internships for master’s students in social work with goal of getting them employed in our region post-graduation.
Mayor Barbara Tolbert said, “This multi-agency collaborative approach to getting timely social services to our citizens will improve self-sufficiency for the clients, decrease demand on our emergency services, and get more social workers employed in our county. I am optimistic that this demonstration project will succeed and become a model for other municipalities. Within the first few months we have already observed an increase in therapeutic intervention and a decrease in 911 utilization for non-emergent needs.”
February 2022 reports show that 50 clients were served, 41 new referrals, 222 services provided, including therapeutic intervention, assessments of needs, planning with clients, coordination of care, home visit, and advocating for client.