our work

Current priority areas:

  • Develop solutions to mental health and substance use disorder service gaps in Larimer County
  • Transform perceptions and treatment of substance use disorders
  • Improve outcomes and reduce community costs for frequent users of acute, crisis and high-cost services
  • Support early identification and early intervention for youth ages 0-24
Current Projects
Completed a comprehensive study on the critical behavioral health treatment gaps in Larimer County in 2016 and 2018 with specific recommendations for expanding levels of care – What Will it Take? Solutions to Mental Health Service Caps in Larimer County (https://www.healthdistrict.org/what-will-it-take-solutions-mental-health-service-gaps-larimer-county). This study was incorporated into the County Master Plan and used to inform Ballot Initiative 1A in 2018 to raise funding for a new behavioral health center and expand community services through a local sales tax. The initiative was passed in the fall of 2018 and is expected to bring in approximately $15.5 million dollars for 25 years starting in 2019 to fund critical need behavioral health services.

  • Community-wide education and presentations to raise awareness of the study’s findings and recommendations for filling service gaps.
  • Some MHSU Alliance members serve on the County’s Behavioral Health ‘Technical Advisory Council’ (TAC) to help advise on the implementation of service funding through the 1A mental health sales-tax ballot initiative passed in 2018.
  • Development of a smaller sub-committee of the MHSU Alliance to work with the county specifically on the design and services for the new behavioral health facility expected to open in early 2022.
  • Remain active in statewide and local legislative and policy work to ensure that laws and policies are developed to better support mental health and addiction services and workforce.
Project Downloads:
Project Contact: Brian Ferrans

Two-year grant to help transform attitudes, policies, and practices related to substance use disorders within the following organizations:

  • SummitStone Health Partners
  • Larimer County Alternative Sentencing Department
  • 8th Judicial District Probation

Throughout the grant we have completed baseline staff and organizational assessments, identified opportunities for training and practice changes and developed tailored process improvement plans for each organization to implement. If you’re interested in doing similar work within your own organization or others you are involved in, please contact us. Project Contact: Brian Ferrans (Alternative Sentencing & Probation) and Jess Fear (SummitStone Health Partners)

A three year social marketing campaign designed to raise public awareness about addiction in Larimer County. The goal of the campaign is to help transform public perceptions of addiction and to promote better understanding of addiction as a chronic disease. Learn more about the campaign and addiction at www.changingmindslarimer.org

Project Contact: Brian Ferrans

The MHSU Alliance is working closely with a variety of stakeholders throughout Larimer and Weld counties to find solutions that address the opioid crisis in our communities. One such effort is partnering with the Northern Colorado Opioid Prevention Workgroup (NCOPW), formed in 2017 by the North Colorado Health Alliance and SummitStone Health Partners, to identify and advance solutions to address the opioid crisis. The NCOPW is currently working on the following projects:

  • Provider/Prescriber education
  • Colorado Opioid Synergy Larimer & Weld (CO-SLAW), a 3-year SAMHSA grant funded project aimed at increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) through dedicated care coordination and a network of prescribers specifically treating individuals with opioid use disorder
  • Implementation of a jail-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and Naloxone program in the Larimer County jail

Project Contact: Brian Ferrans

CIT staff are working to unify, support and increase local efforts to make Naloxone (overdose reversal medication) available to those in northern Colorado who may be in a position to reverse an overdose. A Naloxone Champions workgroup engages key community members such as law enforcement, emergency responders, pharmacies, and community members to increase understanding, knowledge, and access to Naloxone. Contact us to get involved.

Project Contact: Jess Fear

In 2015, a study by the MHSU Alliance and TriWest Group outlined the characteristics, service use patterns and needs of the most frequent utilizers of high cost acute services (emergency rooms, emergency medical transport, inpatient hospitalization, law enforcement and jail) in Larimer County. CIT staff have used study findings and recommendations to identify potential interventions to improve outcomes for frequent utilizers and reduce related community costs, some of these efforts have resulted in:

  • Working with the University of Utah’s Sorensen Impact Center to examine the potential feasibility of implementing a “Pay for Success”, an innovative funding model.
  • The development of a local Frequent Utilizer Systems Engagement (FUSE) demonstration project that will house 20 chronically homeless individuals and provide intensive wrap-around supports that could be scaled up into a local Pay for Success Project.
Project Downloads:
Project Contact: Jess Fear

The Health district has partnered with Sorensen Impact Center of the University of Utah to create a “Data Co-op” proof of concept by creating data sharing agreements and gathering and analyzing data on frequent utilizers across sectors and systems. This will assist partners in identifying high utilizers of services and offer cross-system comparisons that are intended to assist in better collaborative care coordination. Staff have been working on data sharing efforts with Homeward Alliance, Homeward2020, the Murphy Center for Hope, Housing Catalyst, Outreach Fort Collins, Summit Stone Health, City of Fort Collins Police Services and Municipal Court, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Larimer County Criminal Justice and Catholic Charities.

The Health District has partnered with the Homeward Alliance and Homeward 2020 to implement a Frequent Utilizer Systems Engagement (FUSE) demonstration project. This framework was developed by the Corporation for Supportive Housing and is be utilized on a variety of projects in other states.  Ultimately, this will create a foundation that could be scaled up to a future Pay for Success project aimed at housing more individuals in our frequent utilization and homeless service systems. The demonstration project will leverage state housing vouchers and local services to provide wrap-around services and support for up to 20 frequent utilizers who are chronically homeless.