Nevada County has received three California State Association of Counties (CSAC) awards for innovative county programs: the Ready Nevada County wildfire preparedness campaign won CSAC’s Challenge Award for rural counties under the “Disaster & Emergency Response/Management” category, and the Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) Team and Behavioral Health’s Walk-In Clinic both won a CSAC Merit Award for rural counties in the “Health & Human Services” category. This year, CSAC is honoring 49 programs from 25 counties: 20 Challenge Awards and 29 Merit Awards with 363 entries.
Ready Nevada County
Ready Nevada County is a multimedia campaign coordinated by the Office of Emergency Services to raise awareness in the community to prevent and prepare for wildfire. According to CAL FIRE, most Nevada County residents live in the high to very-high wildfire severity zone. With immediacy, residents drew the connection between the likenesses of the recent deadly Camp Fire and our County as both areas have similar topography and volumes of hazardous vegetation.
In February 2019, Ready Nevada County was formed to serve as a one-stop shop for residents seeking wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness information, as well as act as a facilitator to bring together wildfire prevention stakeholders at the community, local, state and federal levels to more creatively streamline coordination.
Learn more by reading the CSAC Ready Nevada County entry at on CSAC’s website at: https://www.counties.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/ready_nevada_county.pdf
Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) Team
The Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) Team is an innovative solution for engaging and housing those experiencing chronic homelessness in rural communities. Like many communities in California, homelessness is a significant problem in Nevada County. Nevada County is well above state averages for this group; 44% of people surveyed in our 2018 Point in Time (PIT) count met the chronically homeless definition versus the state average of 28%. Unmet physical health needs often create a barrier to accessing other necessary services such as behavioral health treatment, substance use treatment, and housing. In addition, unaddressed physical health issues and chronic conditions also result in high utilization of emergency and urgent medical care.
In response to the observed challenge, Nevada County created the innovative Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement (HOME) Team in April of 2019 consisting of a Nurse, two Personal Services Coordinators, a Substance Use Disorder Counselor, Housing Specialist, and Peer Specialist to identify physical health, mental health, and substance use disorder needs in a welcoming and destigmatizing manner. The HOME team meets individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness at locations in the community where they are living. Through June of 2020, the HOME Team has conducted outreach to 396 individuals experiencing homelessness. 140 individuals officially entered the HOME Team program and received intensive case management services. 156 Substance Use Disorder or Mental Health assessments were performed, 124 of which resulted in subsequent placement in Mental Health or Substance Use Treatment Programs. 50 individuals secured housing through recovery residences, bridge housing programs, or permanent housing situations. The HOME Team Nurse has engaged with 139 individuals, providing medical related assessments, minor medical care, and referrals for medical needs.
Learn more by reading the CSAC HOME Team entry at on CSAC’s website at: https://www.counties.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/home_team.pdf.
Behavioral Health Walk-In Clinic
Individuals with substance use disorders face multiple barriers to getting treatment. The walk-in clinic streamlines access to care by eliminating the need to make appointments. Nevada County Behavioral Health opted into the Drug Medi-cal Organized Delivery System (DMC ODS) in July of 2018 to expand access to treatment for Substance Use Disorders. This change meant that residential treatment became available to many Medi-cal beneficiaries who previously did not have this service covered by their insurance benefit. The demand for this treatment turned out to be extremely high and the original process we set up for accessing this service was not working. People needed to call and make an appointment, they then typically waited up to ten days for that appointment, and in the meantime their readiness for going into treatment often changed.
Since implementing the walk-in clinic, the “no show” rate has essentially been reduced to 0% from 33-40%. In addition, Behavioral Health has been able to complete almost twice as many assessments per month. During the first 8 months of implementation of the Drug Medical Organized Delivery System, Behavioral Health utilized the “scheduled appointment” model for assessments and were only completing an average of 25.8 assessments per month despite getting an average of 99 requests per month. From March 2019 when the walk-in clinic was implemented to February 2020, Behavioral Health doubled the rate of assessments, completing an average of 50.8 assessments per month. Of the 611 ASAM assessments completed, 113 accepted a warm hand-off to a case manager on the same day of the assessment. 61 were linked to Medication Assisted Treatment and 27 were provided with Naloxone.
Learn more by reading the CSAC Walk-In Clinic entry at on CSAC’s website at: https://www.counties.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/walk-in_clinic.pdf