As part of the AHCCCS Complete Care (ACC) Competitive Contract expansion, the three AHCCCS Complete Care Regional Behavioral Health Authority (ACC-RBHA) contractors are moving from having separate crisis call lines for their respective regions to having a single statewide crisis call line. Mercy Care, Care1st, and Arizona Complete Health-Complete Care Plan (AzCH-CCP) have selected Solari Crisis & Human Services to be the single statewide crisis phone vendor to operate this call line starting Oct. 1, 2022.
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Justin Chase, CEO of Solari, the vendor that will also be operating the state’s 988 crisis response system starting July 2022, told State of Reform that this change would promote ease of access and statewide consistency for this particular crisis service.
“Regardless of where you’re at in the state, if you dial this number, you’re gonna get the exact same experience and service quality,” he said. “There are 23 advertised crisis lines in the state of Arizona in some form or capacity, and being able to narrow that down and streamline that into a single 800 number … will just create an easier and smoother access point for individuals.”
Chase emphasized that staff will also have access to regionally-specific services like mobile crisis teams, crisis receiving facilities, and other community-based supports that are unique to the region and community the caller lives in.
“We don’t view the crisis line call as a one and done intervention,” he said. “As important as resolving the crisis on the phone is getting folks connected to local resources and community providers for ongoing care. So in the event that we can’t resolve the issue on the phone, we have access to mobile crisis teams and facilities to be able to coordinate folks with.”
The challenge now is meeting the expectations of the community and matching the services they already have in place, and changing the aspects they’d like to see change, Chase said.
“Arizona is a large state with a vast variety of demographics and geographic accessibility. It’s important for us to be able to hire staff to have that local knowledge and expertise in a variety of regions throughout the state, as well as keeping our costs low with regards to operational overhead when it comes to the call center aspect of the business.”
Chase also highlighted the importance of sharing data and information of callers to facilitate smooth transitions for these individuals as they move throughout the care system in the state.
“Transitions of care between levels throughout the system are where gaps line up and individuals can fall through the cracks and in crisis episodes, those gaps can be even wider, and the consequences of the people falling through the cracks can be even more dire,” he said. “Being able to have smooth handoffs and connectivity to ensure that individuals are not only getting their needs met at the [crisis level of care], but at each subsequent level as they engage in the … ongoing therapeutic system that the community has, are equally important.”
Chase will be speaking on the “988: What’s next?” panel at our 2022 Arizona State of Reform Health Policy Conference on May 26th. Register for the conference here!