One South Dakota company visited Capitol Hill Tuesday
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - One South Dakota company visited Capitol Hill Tuesday to tell lawmakers about a program that connects law enforcement officers with 24/7 access to trained behavioral health professionals to assist in responding to people having a mental health crisis.
Sioux Falls-based telemedicine care provider Avel eCare briefed U.s. Senate staffers on Tuesday about the success of their Virtual Care Crisis program. It provides law enforcement officers with round-the-clock access to mental health professionals through an iPad. Those professionals can assist officers via a video session when responding to people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Vice president and general manager of the company Brian Erickson says that the program has reduced the number of arrests for those people.
“80% of the individuals we come in contact with were able to stay home and then follow up with resources locally. Otherwise, they would have went to jail or the emergency permit, which has a lot of burdensome for taxpayers and also a stress on the individual,” says Brian Erickson, Vice President and General Manager at Avel eCare
The program is currently serving 40 counties in South Dakota as well as in parts of Nevada. CEO Doug Duskin said they spoke to Senate staffers today to educate them about the program and how it could help drive better result for those experiencing mental health problem in their communities.
“I think mostly today it was about education on a broader level that really focuses in on how to move upstream in an encounter with a potential behavioral health issue to decriminalize behavioral health and to really help drive a better outcome for not only the patient but for law enforcement,” Doug Duskin, CEO of Avel eCare finished.
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