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Memphis CARE Program
CARE program helps people with behavioral health conditions
Posted on 02/05/2019
By Leah Kraus, Digital Content Coordinator

For the past few months, first responders in Memphis have been working together on a project aimed at reducing the burden of non-emergency calls on Memphis Fire’s emergency response capabilities. 

It’s called the Crisis Assessment and Response to Emergencies, or CARE project, and is a partnership between Memphis Fire Department, Memphis Police Department, and Alliance Healthcare Services

The goal is to re-direct people suffering from behavioral health complaints away from ambulance transport to a hospital emergency room and into the most appropriate facility for their needs. This, in turn, frees up ambulances to respond to other emergency calls. 

The CARE program has responded to more than 320 calls since it began in September, 2018. It is one of several Healthcare Navigator (HCN) Program initiatives, as well as an initiative from the Pre-Arrest Diversion Project through TDMHSAS.

“Our partnership with Memphis Police Department and Alliance Healthcare Services is an exciting opportunity to better serve those in our community who suffer from mental illness,” Memphis Fire Lieutenant Kevin Spratlin said. “The unique skill sets possessed by each of our team members allows us to navigate our patients to the most appropriate care for their needs. Often times, this is not an emergency room. Instead, it is much more beneficial to assist them to a behavioral health facility that can expertly treat them.”

The CARE team is staffed with a firefighter/paramedic, an MPD Crisis Intervention Team officer, and a mental health professional from Alliance Healthcare. The team works from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding City holidays. 

In certain cases, first responders may encounter a patient experiencing behavioral health emergencies, who they think will benefit from CARE team intervention. In other cases, AHS personnel may request that a specific patient be visited by the CARE team.

For more information on the CARE program, please contact Lt. Kevin Spratlin at charles.spratlin@memphistn.gov.
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