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Elevate Health Funds Behavioral Health Training for Community Partners

By Robert Marshall Wells

A team of Pierce County first responders recently completed training funded by Elevate Health and are working in the community to reduce the number of unnecessary 911 calls and emergency room visits.

The goal is to impact people dealing with behavioral health issues in rural parts of the county." – Kimberly Bjorn // Clinical Social Worker, Therapist, Community Care Network Director of Clinical Integration and Transformation at Elevate Health

Those who underwent training are members of the Mobile Community Intervention Response Team, known as MCIRT for short, which is designed to improve the lives of those affected by mental illness, substance abuse, and/or unmet medical needs. Most were EMS workers in the Key Peninsula, Gig Harbor, West Pierce, Central Pierce, Orting and Graham Fire Districts.

MCIRT members work to provide therapeutic alternatives in the community with the intention of reducing non-emergency contacts with first responders.

MCIRT members primarily collaborate with the county’s Emergency Management System (EMS), mobile outreach crisis team (MOCT), and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department to determine local concentrations of people in the target population.

Special attention is given to individuals who might otherwise be brought to a hospital emergency department or arrested for minor crimes and taken to jail.

The training, which started in April and concluded in late June, was made possible through a $240,000 grant directed to Elevate from Cambia Health Solutions, a Portland-based organization dedicated to making health care experiences simpler, better and more affordable for residents of the Pacific Northwest.

MCIRT is one of many services provided by Community Life Resources, an active Elevate Health community partner with the primary objective of fully integrating behavioral and physical healthcare in Pierce County.

As is the case with all Elevate Health community partnerships, the ultimate goal is to provide whole-person care to all residents of Pierce County, with particular attention to those in acute need.

“The purpose of the training,” said Bjorn, was “to help our community partners address folks that are struggling.”

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