Health officials meet to discuss new urgent care facility

Health officials meet to discuss new urgent care facility

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Health officials, members of law enforcement and other who deal with the mentally ill met Monday to discuss plans to possibly create a new urgent care facility.

After the tax plan by the East Baton Rouge Parish mayor-president was voted down (which included creating a treatment center for the mentally ill), the Baton Rogue Area Foundation began brainstorming ideas. They invited Jan Kasofsky, the executive director of the Capital Area Human Services, to present ideas to a group of selected individuals.

Kasofsky asked each of those people to be part of the committee that will take a look at some solutions to the problems Baton Rouge currently faces.

"Everything we're seeing in Baton Rouge now is a national problem," Kasofsky said. "I think that because we had a very good solution functioning here before, now we don't have it. We're just caught up with what people are seeing in other parts of the country."

She says two years ago, when the mental health emergency room at Earl K. Long closed, they started seeing more people with mental illness end up in jail and others were spending longer times in emergency rooms. Kasofsky says that's because there is no good place for the mentally ill to go.

The 14 member committee will meet a total of three times, their solutions will then be put out for the public to make comment.

"We would really like to see another kind of urgent care center for people with behavorial problems who become unstable," Kasofsky said. She added, that could also be a place where law enforcement, emergency workers or family members could bring someone in a crisis and in need of medication. "A place that's safe for people to come to, to stabilize."

She says when the mental health emergency room was open, they found only 32% of people needed hospitalization. That meant people were being saved and the city was saving as well.

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