Members of Mental Health Hold Task Force named

Members of Mental Health Hold Task Force named

DENVER (July 12, 2016) – The Colorado Department of Human Services on Tuesday named 30 people to the Mental Health Hold Task Force, created by direction of Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“We are pleased to appoint a diverse and talented group of individuals to this task force,” said Reggie Bicha, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. “We look forward to the discussion and their recommendations on the important issues around the rights and health of Coloradans experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The Governor asked CDHS to create the task force after he vetoed Senate Bill 16-169, a bill that had addressed the mental health hold process in Colorado.

“We agree that appropriate mental health facilities are not always readily available to treat persons having a mental health crisis,” the Governor said at the time he vetoed the bill. “While well-intentioned, we are concerned that SB 16-169 does not provide adequate due process for individuals.”

In his veto letter, Gov. Hickenlooper asked that the task force develop solutions to the underlying problems highlighted by Senate Bill 16-169. This task force will ensure that Coloradans experiencing mental health crises have access to appropriate mental health services while preserving their fundamental rights.

Specifically the Mental Health Hold Task Force will make statutory, policy, and administrative recommendations to:

  • Ensure proper mental health treatment for individuals in crisis, while satisfying individual’s rights under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and due process standards. This should include exploring models used in other states;
  • End the practice of confining in jail persons with mental illness who have committed no crime;
  • Where appropriate, streamline and align regulatory oversight of the mental health hold process while ensuring necessary patient care requirements and protecting patient rights;
  • Understand the need for, and overcome barriers to, providing inpatient psychiatric care to persons in mental health crisis;
  • Maximize existing state resources, including examining potential enhancements that can be made to the current crisis services and transportation systems;
  • Develop data tracking and provider communication systems to better understand the scope of the mental health hold problem in Colorado.

The task force’s first meeting is set for 1 p.m. Aug. 4 at History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO. Its meetings are open to the public. The task force will meet approximately twice a month in order to devise and provide recommendations by Jan. 1, 2017.

Members of the Mental Health Hold Task Force are:

  • Irene Aguilar, State Senator
  • Vincent Atchity, Equitas Foundation
  • Lori Banks, Colorado Crisis Connection
  • Elicia Bunch, Centennial Peaks Hospital
  • Margaret Heil, Colorado Department of Public Safety
  • Jason Hopcus, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Julie Hoskins, Weld County Judge
  • Mark Ivandick, Disability Law Colorado
  • Cheri Jahn, State Senator
  • Chris Johnson, County Sheriffs of Colorado
  • Moe Keller, Mental Health Colorado
  • Tracy Kraft-Tharp, State Representative
  • David Krouse, Fruita Police Department
  • Randy Kuykendall, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Lois Landgraf, State Representative
  • Elizabeth Lowdermilk, Denver Health
  • Denise Maes, Colorado ACLU
  • Beth Martinez Humenik, State Senator
  • Richard Martinez, Colorado Psychiatric Society
  • Fred McKee, Delta County Sheriff
  • Patrick McKinstry, Denver City and County Attorney’s Office
  • Matt Mortier, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies/Division of Insurance
  • Katherine Mulready, Colorado Hospital Association
  • Sharon Raggio, Mind Springs Health
  • Lenya Robinson, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Sally Ryman, Grand County Rural Health Network
  • Valerie Schlecht, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
  • Cheryl Storey, West Pines Behavioral Health
  • Nancy VanDeMark, Colorado Department of Human Services/Office of Behavioral Health
  • Doug Wilson, Colorado Public Defender