What Works: Leveraging health care transformation to improve behavioral health and public safety outcomes

Commissioner Shiprack receives Freisen Award from the JMI
Commissioner Shiprack (right) receives the Ernest C. Freisen Award of Excellence from Elaine Nugent-Borakove (center), president of the Justice Management Institute, and Aimee Wickman (left).
The Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council held its annual What Works in Public Safety conference on Friday, December 6th, 2013. The theme was, “Leveraging health care transformation to improve behavioral health and public safety outcomes.” The event brought together nearly two hundred policy makers and practitioners to explore how enhanced healthcare coverage and improved access to mental health services and treatments will impact the public safety system. The What Works Conference is a forum for commissioners, legislators, and other policy makers from around Oregon to identify opportunities and align efforts around important public safety issues.

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall
LPSCC co-chair and Multnomah County Commissioner Judy Shiprack opened the day. She invited the audience to collaborate and engage around improving our systems for those with mental illness who touch our criminal justice system.“This conference is taking place at an exciting time” said Shiprack. “There are profound changes taking place, and Oregon has a chance to be a national leader and innovator in public safety policy.” Commissioner Shiprack was presented the Ernest C. Freisen Award of Excellence from the Justice Management Institute. JMI’s President Elaine Nugent-Borakove presented the award to Commissioner Shiprack and commented, “JMI is very pleased to recognize Judy’s work to help ensure a fair, just, equitable, and efficient justice system. Her involvement with and leadership on justice issues is exemplary and a model for other county commissioners around the country.”

Commissioner Shiprack was followed by US Attorney, Amanda Marshall. Ms. Marshall opened the conference with passionate comments about not using the criminal justice system to intervene with those with mental illness, “For too long this state has relied on police, jails, and others in the criminal justice system in lieu of evidence based therapeutic interventions to treat Oregonians living with mental illness.” Ms. Marshall also gave an overview of a plan presented to Governor Kitzhaber, which focuses on “Assertive Community Treatment Teams, Intensive Case Management, peer support services, and supported employment to help keep people out of crisis,” as well as supportive housing, early intervention and maximizing Medicaid reimbursement.

Greg Roberts
Greg Roberts
The keynote address was given by Pete Earley, journalist and best-selling author. Mr. Earley wrote the book, “Crazy: A Father’s Search Though America’s Mental Health Madness,” after his own son began to struggle with mental illness and had subsequent contact with law enforcement and the criminal justice system. Mr. Earley spoke to a riveted crowd about his challenges navigating the mental health and public safety systems on behalf of his son. He advocates that our systems rely less on incarceration and more on treatment.

What Works Dec 2013 Panel
What Works Conference Panel Discussion: Dr. Labby, Dr. Chandragiri, Judge Waller, Rep. Williamson, Ms. Martin, Mr. Hartnett, & Lt. Bacigalupi
Tina Edlund, Acting Director of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), described Oregon’s focus on and implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the Coordinated Care Organizations. She provided an overview of health care spending and the change in practice from evaluating revenue and expenditures to evaluating and valuing overall community and individual health.

Pam Martin, Director of OHA’s Addictions and Mental Health (AMH) Division, gave an overview of behavioral health care. Rather than focus on institutions and organizational driven decisions, Oregon’s system is community based and focused on individuals. Ms. Martin also shared that AMH collaborates well with public safety, and supports DUII interventions, jail diversion and recovery supports.

Greg Roberts, Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital, gave an overview of the hospital’s history, services and improvements.  Mr. Roberts indicated many of the OSH patients are involved in the justice system due to aid and assist and guilty except for insanity verdicts. Rather than institutionalizing patients, as was done in past years, OSH is focused on rehabilitation, treatment, wellness, and getting patients healthy enough to return to their communities.

After lunch, a panel of consumers and advocates shared their own journeys. Wendy Ball-Enge, Ann Kasper and David Fitzgerald discussed how they came through mental health struggles, addictions and justice system involvement. All are in recovery and are peer mentors to others in need.

The last panel of the day included: Multnomah County Presiding Judge Nan Waller, State Representative for Oregon House District 36 Jennifer Williamson, Health Share of Oregon Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Labby, CODA Executive Director Tim Hartnett, practicing psychiatrist Dr. Satya Chandragiri, Lt. Cliff Bacigalupi  of the Portland Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit, and Department of Community Justice Deputy Director Ginger Martin. LPSCC Executive Director Abbey Stamp moderated the panel. The group discussed how health care, behavioral health and corrections should move forward and collaborate to achieve better outcomes for our community. Ms. Stamp will reconvene the panel in early 2014 to continue this important discussion. Other interested parties should contact Ms. Stamp.

The What Works Conference is organized and sponsored by Multnomah County's Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. Sponsorship for the December 2013 conference was provided by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, the Oregon Association of  Community Corrections Directors, and the Citizen’s Crime Commission. The annual conference is a forum for legislators and other policy makers from around Oregon to identify upcoming opportunities.

Conference Materials

Conference Audio

  • Welcome & Opening Remarks (MP3)
  • Keynote Address by Pete Earley (MP3)
  • Overview by Tina Edlund (MP3)
  • Presentation by Pam Martin & Greg Roberts (MP3)
  • Consumer Voice and Perspective (MP3)
  • Panel Discussion (MP3)