Bridge Center selects group to operate crisis center

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Winning provider to offer behavioral health stabilization services in EBR next year

The Bridge Center for Hope Monday selected RI International from among competitive proposals to offer crisis services at a behavioral health stabilization center for East Baton Rouge Parish.

“The Bridge Center Board is excited to welcome RI International as a partner in this community,” said Kathy Kliebert, Bridge Center board chair. “Their selection today marks another important milestone in bringing these critical services to the Baton Rouge community.”

In December 2018, Baton Rouge voters approved a tax that will generate $6 million annually for the treatment center. They were responding to a gap in behavioral health services: police officers who encounter people in crisis have two bad options, jail or emergency rooms. When the center opens, people in crisis can be diverted to the center for treatment.

In spring, the Metro Council entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Bridge Center to oversee the opening and operations of the crisis center. The Bridge Center has not chosen a location for the crisis center.

In June, the Bridge Center issued a Solicitation of Proposals that outlined the requirements for interested providers and the services they must deliver if they win the contract. The deadline for applying was August 1, after a short extension due to Hurricane Barry, and two firms responded. The Board heard in-person presentations from each and utilized an evaluation matrix as outlined in the Solicitation of Proposals to make a recommendation as to which firm to select.

The SOP calls for a five-year contract with an option to extend the agreement for two years under the original terms. In return, the operator must set up, manage and run the crisis center, offering mobile assessment teams, sobering and detox beds, and respite services.

“We are very excited to join with the Bridge Center Board in Baton Rouge to provide behavioral health crisis stabilization services,” said Jamie Sellar with RI International. “We have been successfully providing these services around the country and are enthusiastic about the support from the greater Baton Rouge community to provide these critical services.”

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