Bridge Center begins search for crisis services provider, location comes later

    The Bridge Center for Hope—a long-planned mental health diversion facility that voters agreed last year to finance its operations with a dedicated tax—has begun soliciting proposals for a provider to offer crisis services at the center.

    The Bridge Center’s nonprofit board issued a solicitation of proposals today, with a July 25 deadline for applying. The board expects to choose a provider by August, according to today’s press release.

    A location for the crisis center, however, has yet to be determined, with Kathy Kliebert, Bridge Center board chair, saying the service provider will help determine what the facility will need in terms of space.

    East Baton Rouge Parish voters approved a 1.5-mill property tax for the Bridge Center in December, expected to generate $6 million annually over its initial 10-year life. The center aims to fill a gap in behavioral health services in the city-parish, serving as a diversion center where officials can send crisis patients, rather than jails or emergency rooms.

    Earlier this year, the Metro Council entered into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Bridge Center to oversee operations of the facility.

    “For the last several months, we have been talking and working with national and local experts to develop a request for attracting the highest quality providers that also meet the standards Baton Rouge expects,” Kliebert says. “By hiring an outside firm with a proven track record, we can begin serving our residents much more quickly, early next year.”

    The solicitation of proposals calls for a five-year contract, with an option to extend for two years under initial terms. The provider will be responsible for setting up and managing the crisis center, offering mobile assessment teams, sobering and detox beds, and respite services.

    The board does not have a predetermined price range for the contract, Kliebert says, as the cost will depend on various factors as well as Medicaid billing. Applicants will propose prices, which, Kliebert says, will be negotiated.

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