Improving Multnomah County's Mental Health System

Multnomah County Mental Health System Analysis

Background:
Multnomah County is one of the largest safety net providers of health and mental health care in Oregon. Mental health care, in particular, is complex: funding comes from many sources; several organizations provide care; and health reform continues to change the landscape, with the hope that caring for the whole person will result in better outcomes.

Despite these efforts, accessible and effective mental health care remains a challenge. Too often people end up in crisis, in the emergency room or in jail. Our systems do not work together as effectively as they could, and there are gaps that result in people falling through the cracks. 

What we are doing:
To better understand how we can improve the system, we’re undertaking a deep systems analysis. This analysis will build on previous studies, will examine funding and reimbursement mechanisms to better understand how services are provided, and will focus on the touch points between systems, where people are most likely to get lost.

Who is sponsoring this project?
Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran is spearheading this project. As an ER doctor, Sharon too often sees people who are experiencing mental health crises and end up in the most expensive and least effective place to address their underlying issues. Sharon understands how difficult it can be for people to connect with the right mental health treatment, and believes that we can and must do better.

Who is doing the work?
To do this work, we have hired Human Services Research Institute (HSRI), a health and human services policy and research firm that has strong expertise in the assessment of behavioral health systems at the state and county levels.

HSRI will provide a draft report in February, and final report of their findings by the end of April. We will have a public presentation to the entire Board of Commissioners in June, and we will invite community members to that presentation.

How to get involved:
We need input from all corners of the mental health system. From people who use services to people who provide services, from people who manage programs to people who can’t find services that meet their cultural or population needs -- we want to hear about your experiences with and ideas / vision for the future of the Multnomah County Mental Health System.

We want to hear from you! Submit your thoughts online through our feedback form which will stay open through February 1. You can also contact Shannon Pullen, Policy Advisor, Multnomah County District 1 at shannon.pullen@multco.us or 503-988-4471 with questions, or to find out other ways to get involved.

Multnomah County Mental Health Systems Analysis One-Page Information (101.35 KB)