Name: Meredith Davis
Title: Population Health Behavioral Health Special Projects Manager
Office: Health Programs Office
Project: All things Behavioral Health & ARPA
Tell us about yourself in a few sentences and how you came to be a Colorado expert in behavioral health.
Starting in 2018, I began working at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) on projects specifically focused on expanding access to and improving the quality of, substance use disorder treatment in Colorado. During my nearly four years there, I came to better understand the needs of the behavioral health system in Colorado and this position has allowed me to broaden my focus to improving the quality and availability of services statewide.
Tell us what excites you most about the Crisis Response Services Expansion project?
Collaboration with OBH has offered us a unique opportunity to braid existing funding with ARPA supports to improve and expand the mobile crisis availability in Colorado. The most exciting part of this project is our ability to assist providers in improving service delivery for all Coloradans in crisis while our office develops a new Medicaid benefit to cover these services.
What kind of stakeholders are you engaging to make this benefit meet members' needs?
Stakeholders for this project include existing crisis providers, secure transportation staff, behavioral health experts in crisis response and mitigation, emergency medical staff, representatives from the harm reduction community, experts in equity, diversity, and inclusion, tribal public health experts, people with lived experience, people representing the deaf and hard of hearing community, and people representing those with physical, emotional, developmental, and intellectual disabilities.
If you could say one thing to the general public about why mobile crisis response should be expanded in our state, what would it be?
Expanding mobile crisis response allows for trained behavioral health experts to intervene during a crisis situation, assess the immediate level of need, and assist people in accessing the most appropriate level of care. This approach also provides significant economic benefit to the taxpayers, as individuals in crisis may no longer be transported to criminal justice or emergency level of care if not necessary.
How do you think ARPA funding can positively impact persons experiencing a behavioral health crisis?
The ARPA funds will allow crisis and secure transport providers access to behavioral health experts, will allow them to receive training for crisis intervention with all people, and will allow these providers to improve their response and transport vehicles in a manner that exemplifies best practices for all Coloradans regardless of need or disability. This will allow individuals in crisis to receive the best level of care immediately, and will better facilitate access to additional community-based services that help them avoid future crises.
If we were looking for you on a weekend, where would we find you?
Depending on the weather, I can be found at home with my husband and my two cats cooking and watching movies, or out with my husband hiking, camping, cycling, and kayaking.
To learn more about all of the projects that Meredith is working on visit the Improve Crisis & Acute Services section of the ARPA website.
Want to be featured for a future Stakeholder Spotlight to share your story about how ARPA has impacted your life? Send an email to us and let us know!