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Greene lawmakers hear about MCAT, crisis prevention

May 09, 2022 12:45 am

Ted Remsnyder is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Katie Oldakowski, Director of Greene County's Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, presented an update on the team's operations to the Greene County Legislature's Health Services Committee last week. The Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties team was established to provide crisis services to both counties with eight hours per day set aside for each. The team includes 19 staff members, including five full-time employees. It has served 3,162 individual Greene County residents since the start of the program in 2015. Oldakowski told the legislature that the team has been dispatched in Greene County 2,503 times in the past seven years. When funding through the Greene and Columbia County HEALing Communities initiative expired at the end of 2021, both counties agreed to step in and each chipped in $170,000 to fund the program annually. Oldakowski said the primary services provided include prevention, crisis intervention and hospital discharge follow-up. She said, “When you look at the total budget and you look at all of the services that we provide, MCAT focuses on prevention before someone is in a crisis and we want to link them to services and make sure that they have the resources that they need. Doctors, health insurance, whatever it is, we’re going to make sure that they get connected to where they need to go. ...” The team has received 97,448 phone calls from residents in distress in almost seven years and has a 93 percent diversion rate for unnecessary hospitalization and a 99 percent diversion rate from police intervention for the calls they respond to. Greene County Mental Health Center Director Jason Fredenberg said the team provides a needed addition to his agency’s staff. "...My entire staff felt the difference when they came into town,” Fredenberg told lawmakers. In 2019, the team provided Greene County with $636,900 in estimated cost savings by diverting police interventions, ambulance transportation and psychiatric emergency department visits. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

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