ALAMEDA COUNTY (BCN) – The Pleasanton and Dublin city councils on Tuesday will separately consider forming a pilot program with the city of Livermore and nonprofit Axis Community Health to fund a Tri-Valley mental health urgent care program.

All three cities are expected to commit $107,165 to the program, aimed at the growing demand for better mental health services for people lacking access to same-day care.

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The issue has become a national topic of discussion over reallocating police funding to mental health agencies better equipped than police to deal with mental health emergencies. The issue has become a hot-button topic locally with the 2019 death of 23-year-old Miles Hall, who police shot to death in nearby Walnut Creek during a mental health crisis.

Hall, who was allegedly armed with a crowbar, was known to police from previous calls. His family said in a claim filed with the city that Hall was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which can cause delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law in January, increasing mental health services private healthcare companies must provide. The new law requires providers to cover full treatment of all mental health conditions and substance-use disorders identified in the most recent edition of the International Classification of Diseases, or the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

“The need for mental health services in the Tri-Valley has increased dramatically in the last decade and been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the staff report for Tuesday’s Pleasanton City Council meeting. “There is not enough capacity to meet the demand, and the systems are complex and difficult to maneuver, especially in a crisis.”

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The proposal states the three cities will pay Pleasanton-based Axis Community Health an amount “not to exceed $321,495 for project start up and project budget year 1 costs.” Axis is expected to receive a $250,000 grant from Alameda County Behavioral Health, which would decrease each city’s contribution to $23,831.67.

The project would provide same-day appointments to all members of the community, regardless of income or insurance status, according to the staff report. While the current COVID-19 restrictions persist, service would be provided via telehealth. The program would be physically be operated out of Axis’ Pleasanton clinic. The center would include a care coordinator, a licensed therapist and an on-call psychiatrist and be run under the direction of Axis’ chief of behavioral health services. While the clinic would deal with immediate needs, the center would also connect patients with ongoing treatment providers.

The Pleasanton City Council meets virtually at 7 p.m. Tuesday and can be found at https://www.tri-valleytv.org and https://www.youtube.com/user/TheCityofPleasanton. To join the meeting via Zoom, go to https://cityofpleasanton.zoom.us/j/91294937422.

The Dublin City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday and can be seen at http://www.TV30.org, or on the city’s website, at https://bit.ly/302j1aq.

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