Respite Partnership Collaborative Background

The Respite Partnership Collaborative was a public-private partnership of the County of Sacramento, Division of Behavioral Health Services, the Center for Health Program Management and the community at large. The goal of the Respite Partnership Collaborative (RPC) was to increase local mental health respite service options to offer alternatives to hospitalization for community members experiencing a crisis in Sacramento County.

The RPC was funded through the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation component. MHSA is a California initiative passed by voters in 2004 to provide funding to help counties transform mental health services across all age groups and addresses a broad continuum of prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery needs. Innovation is one of five components within the MHSA and has the sole purpose of allowing counties the opportunity to try new approaches to learn more about what may work to increase access for underserved groups, increase quality of services, promote interagency collaboration and/or increase access to services. Innovation funds are one time and time-limited projects.

In November 2010, Sacramento County, Division of Behavioral Health Services conducted a comprehensive community planning process to design an Innovation project. An Innovation Workgroup comprised of key stakeholders was formed to review numerous ideas from the community. The focus of the workgroup was on crisis and ways to develop alternatives to hospitalization. The Innovation Workgroup proposed that funding be used to develop respite programs throughout the community that are located in neighborhoods or home-like settings.

Because respite programs are not new or innovative, the workgroup decided that the actual respite services would be ancillary and that the ultimate learning opportunity would be to explore having an administrative entity implement the project to determine if a public-private partnership could lead to new partnerships, increased efficiencies and, ultimately, improved services to community members.

Through a competitive selection process, the County of Sacramento awarded Sierra Health Foundation: Center for Health Program Management a contract to administer the RPC. During this project term, the Center used MHSA Innovation funding to support a Respite Partnership Collaborative that made recommendations for respite service grants to community organizations. These respite services will be sustained beyond the Innovation funding time-period with Sacramento County Mental Health Services Act funds.