In the City of Saint Louis and Saint Louis County, many individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) and problematic substance use (SU) are not being adequately treated, resulting in an increased number of encounters in emergency departments (ED) and the criminal justice system. These systems may not be the appropriate settings for all individuals with SMI and SU to receive support and treatment. Additionally, there is increasing pressure put on providers and first-responders due to recent trends in opioid abuse. Leaders across the St. Louis region recognize that an intentional process is needed to connect these individuals to resources that facilitate treatment, recovery, support services, and housing. Regional stakeholders are interested in exploring the feasibility of an Assessment and Triage Center that would provide more comprehensive care, improve community health, and result in system-wide cost-savings.
The Saint Louis Metropolitan Hospital Council met in November 2017 and formally requested that the RHC “serve as the coordinating entity and provide a dedicated staff person to support the community collaborative.” The Commission approved RHC’s lead role in the planning process, pending funding and additional detail.