Counties support SLV Behavioral Health

VALLEY — Gov. John Hickenlooper is contemplating using an out-of-state service to replace Colorado crisis service organizations. The San Luis Valley County Commissioners Association and San Luis Valley Behavioral Health Group don't want that to happen so that's why the SLVCCA signed a letter to the governor in support of local crisis centers.

"Crisis should stay local and it should be contracted with local entities," said SLV Behavioral Health Chief Executive Officer Fernando Martinez. "Having a request for proposals go out nationally, subjecting us possibly to an outside vendor is not good state business."

According to the letter, SLVBHG hospitalizes and transports 14 people a month and completes an average of 3,000 emergency responses annually. Martinez said that their services help ease the burden of local law enforcement and the organizations have also helped raise funds.

"Here in the San Luis Valley, these extra dollars have provided access to a walk-in crisis center for our residents so that anyone who is having a behavioral health crisis can access services without going to the local emergency room or calling the police," states the letter. "Because we live in an area where our closest inpatient psychiatric hospital is at least two hours away, a local walk-in crisis center has been invaluable."

Unless Hickenlooper changes his mind, the decision to rebid the crisis contract will take place in July.

"Mental health investments across the state of Colorado are in jeopardy," Martinez said.