Twenty percent of the calls made to the Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District deal with behavioral or substance abuse emergencies.
“It’s a significant call volume,” James McLaughlin, PACT Program Facilitator said.
The district provides immediate assistance to those impacted in Teller County, but they are tied up in helping folks receive follow-up care.
“In a rural area like this, or in southern Teller County near Cripple Creek, they have a hard time accessing behavioral health and substance abuse services,” McLaughlin said.
However, that will soon change.
Envida, a Colorado Springs home health care service, recently received a $249,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
“This grant allows us to coordinate with other transportation providers and emergency services in Teller County to give access to patients that need behavioral health and substance abuse care down in Colorado Springs,” Dave Somers, Envida Outreach & Development Director said.
The move not only helps those living in Teller County who are dealing with mental health issues, but the county’s emergency response system as well.
“A lot of these patients are using emergency services because they don’t have other transportation options. And what we would like to do is coordinate a system that is more cost effective and efficient to meet their needs,” Somers said.
The collaborative program is still in its early stages. Nearly a dozen agencies from Teller and El Paso counties have signed up as partners in this program, including the Teller County Senior Coalition and Cripple Creek Transit.
“The folks here know what it means to work together and solve community issues and problems,” Somers said.
The program is set to begin within the next year.