Bills To Expand State Crisis Intervention Pass Senate

Jan 26, 2021

Credit UPR

On Monday, the Utah Senate passed three bills that would develop and expand the state’s crisis intervention teams. 

Republican Senator Daniel Thatcher from West Valley City sponsored Senate Bill 53, which would allow members of the Emergency Medical Service to be certified in behavioral health training. Sen. Thatcher said while Mobile Crisis Outreach Team intervention proves successful in mitigating harm in a mental or behavioral health crisis, there aren’t enough members to cover the need. 

 

“Those Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams are staffed with licensed clinical social workers,” Thatcher said. “And when they are available to respond to a call, there’s a 75% chance that the individual is stabilized and sent home. The problem is, we will never have enough MCOT teams to get to every single behavioral call.”

 

The bill would add behavioral health specialists to the State Emergency Medical Services Committee. The committee would then work with the Department of Human Services to develop the qualifications EMTs require in order to be licensed as a behavioral health specialist. 

 

Two other bills passed out of the senate on Monday that bolster Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams, which law enforcement. Senate Bill 47, which was also sponsored by Sen. Thatcher, would create a council that would unify best practices of each team within their separate law enforcement agencies. Democratic Senator Kathleen Riebe from Cottonwood Heights sponsored Senate Bill 70, which would create an MCOT team for every county in the state. 

 

All three bills passed out of the senate unanimously and are now heading to the House.