Sen. Howard Marklein and Rep. Clint Moses Highlight Crisis Urgent Care and Observation Centers Legislation

Legislators joined by mental health advocates and law enforcement to promote bill which will allow mental health care to be provided close to home 

MADISON— State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) and Representative Clint Moses (R-Menomonie) highlighted their Crisis Urgent Care and Observation Centers legislation as the bill receives public hearings in the Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention, Children and Families and the Assembly Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention today.

  • Senate Bill (SB) 462 and Assembly Bill (AB) 467 – Crisis Urgent Care and Observation Centers

They were joined by co-authors Senator Jesse James (R-Altoona) and Representative Rob Summerfield (R-Bloomer), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) member and mental health advocate Caryn Forrest from Green Bay, Grant County Sheriff and former President of the Badger State Sheriffs’ Association Nate Dreckman and other individuals across the mental health continuum.  
SB 462/AB 467 will create the framework for the Department of Health Services (DHS) to issue certifications for new, 24/7 regional mental health facilities. The legislation will continue Wisconsin’s implementation of the “Crisis Now” model for mental health care, which is built on a nationwide best practices model.
The facilities will be designed to be a “one-stop shop” for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and will accept both voluntary and involuntary individuals for short-term stays (5 days or less). Individuals can be dropped off by a friend, family member, EMS, or law enforcement. There will not be a medical clearance requirement prior to admission, which will allow law enforcement to leave the facility upon drop-off. The bill was crafted with input from stakeholders across the mental health care continuum, including DHS.

“Nobody wants people in crisis to sit in a squad car for hours on the way to Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh. We do not want people in crisis to be far from home. We do not want to send local law enforcement outside of our communities for hours of overtime,” Marklein said. “Crisis Urgent Care and Observation Centers are the ideal solution to this problem. People in crisis need services and support close to home, not three hours in the back of a squad car.”

“This is a step in the right direction to help people in a crisis. These centers will be located closer to home, especially for residents in Western Wisconsin who need support and services during a mental health crisis,” Moses said. “Our local law enforcement support the Crisis Now model. This has been a long-time coming and much needed for our state.”

“Our family has been on a nine-year journey since my son was first diagnosed as a senior attending UW-Madison. He has been hospitalized several times every year since. We have been in countless emergency rooms across the state. We need the right service, at the right time, locally, so that we do not need to drive a long distance to get help when in crisis,” Forrest said. “We need someone to call, someone to come, and a safe place to go when in a crisis to receive expert care. I love my son with all of my heart. Know that we are only one family of thousands who are searching for the care and services our loved ones deserve.”

“Representatives from the Badger State Sheriffs' and Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association have been working with other stakeholders and policymakers for many years to establish a regulatory framework for regional crisis facilities,” Dreckman said. “This legislation represents many years of hard work and advancing this bill will put the state on the right path to large-scale reform to treat those individuals in crisis more quickly, closer to home and in a manner that is less dependent on law enforcement."
This bipartisan bill has received support from organizations across the mental health continuum. The authors look forward to continuing to move the bills through the legislative process.