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Mental Health Crisis Responders ICT-1 Expected Back On Duty This Month

KMUW/File photo

A first responder team that handles mental health crisis calls in Sedgwick County is expected to be back on duty this month.

The Integrated Care Team, known as ICT-1, disbanded when a trial period for the program ended in October.

The city of Wichita and Sedgwick County have agreed to continue ICT-1 under the same operating agreement and model as the pilot until a partner opts out.

"Getting the inertia back of what we had before will be a little bit of a challenge," said Sedgwick County EMS Director John Gallagher, "but I do think we’ll be able to be up and running in December."

The program is a collaborative effort supported by the Wichita Fire Department, Sedgwick County Fire District 1, Wichita Police Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Sedgwick County Emergency Medical Services, Sedgwick County Emergency Communications and COMCARE of Sedgwick County.

The team consists of a law enforcement officer, a paramedic and a mental health professional who respond together to emergency calls that have a mental health component.

Gallagher says ICT-1 treated 205 patients within Sedgwick County during the three-month trial period and spent an average of three hours per patient.

He says the team was able to assess and treat some people on site instead of automatically transporting them for care.

“We were able to avoid 114 Comcare Crisis Center visits and 92 visits to the hospital emergency departments,” Gallagher said.

The team works ten-hour shifts Tuesday through Friday that end at midnight. Gallagher says having the ICT-1 team available frees up law enforcement officers, fire trucks and ambulances for other emergency calls.

"A total of 329 public safety resources were able to respond to other 911 emergencies," he said. "Seventy percent of the ICT-1 calls involved a law enforcement officer that was able to be freed up and returned back to the 911 system."

Each participating public agency donated personnel time, equipment and resources to support the program.

Gallagher says existing budgets will fund ICT-1 through much of next year. He plans to gather more data on the program including how much it would cost to permanently fund ICT-1.

Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.