Barger to propose motion for mental health services efficiency

Los Angeles County Seal.

Looking to better track mental health resources in Los Angeles County, Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger will propose a motion to implement a new database for these services at the board’s meeting Tuesday.

Under Barger’s motion, the Department of Mental Health would be ordered to work with the Department of Children and Family Services, among other county departments, to analyze the logistics of the county implementing a database to track mental health resources.

“Providing easy access to a quality continuum of care is most easily achieved through a combination of proactive engagement and a streamlined process,” Barger’s motion reads. “Currently, locating the most effective and readily available mental health resources is a significant challenge for both DMH and the individual in need of those resources.”

These resources include beds, residential treatment and board and care facilities.

When someone is held for 72 hours in a facility as a result of a California Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 call, they are often released with limited options for treatment and care, according to the motion.

With a database that tracks mental health resources, L.A. County could streamline this process for people in need of help and connect them with resources for treatment and care, the motion said.

Los Angeles County’s Department of Mental Health is the largest in the nation, serving 250,000 county residents annually at over 300 locations.

The Department of Children and Family Services has an online database similar to the one Barger is considering. Under the Foster Care Search System, the county can track child placement, vacancies, requests, services and confirmation in real time.

This system has saved operations teams over 130,000 hours and saved about $5,204,000, processing over 30,000 placements and 91,000 requests, the motion cited.

“Implementation of a system like FCSS within DMH will not only ensure that individuals are given the option to be efficiently linked to meaningful mental health resources, but also help DMH operate in a more efficient and effective manner,” Barger’s motion reads.

If the motion is approved, the departments will conduct the analysis and report back to the board with their findings in 90 days.

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