Better coordinating care between the Dauphin County's Mental Health, Probation, Crisis Intervention and prison first step in new 'stadium of information'

HARRISBURG, PA (October 10, 2018) If someone on probation is rearrested, the Dauphin County Prison will soon be able to coordinate with Probation Services and quickly determine what treatment the person was receiving and whether bail should be expedited.

Another case may involve someone being released on probation who has a history of treatment for serious mental illness. With better access to the records, Probation Services assigns an officer with special training.

While some of this information is may be available in some fashion, many times when people get help from different Human Services agencies – or enter the criminal justice system – essential data either isn’t quickly available or is not readily accessible.

The commissioners today reviewed the first stage of the county’s STADIA initiative – Statistics, Trends, Analytics, Data Integration and Analysis – so named because it creates a “stadium’’ of information. Earlier this year, the commissioners approved a $1.2 million contract with Deloitte Consulting to assist in integrating information from agencies including Probation, Crisis Intervention, Mental Health & Intellectual Disabilities, Children and Youth, Drugs & Alcohol and the Dauphin County Prison.

“Many of the people who are helped by our Human Services receive assistance from more than one department,’’ said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “STADIA will allow us to not only better manage individual cases but identify trends and focus on how to spend our limited resources to provide help more efficiently.’’

Part of today’s review included a demonstration of the first three “dashboards’’ that highlight information from Crisis Intervention, Probation and an “executive’’ screen combining information from the prison, Probation, Crisis Intervention and Mental Health. These first three dashboards are expected to be completed by the end of November. Dashboards for the rest of Human Services are scheduled to be finished by the end of 2019.

"We know that many of the people who enter our criminal justice system have mental health or addiction issues or both,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste.

 "STADIA will help us identify those who can be safely released from prison and receive needed treatment,’’ Haste said. “Not only will this help people turn their lives around, but it saves taxpayer dollars because treatment costs less than jail.’’

Having a better way to access information and coordinate treatment ties in with the commissioners’ support for the “Stepping Up Initiative,” a national movement spearheaded by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to reduce the number of people with serious mental illness in prison.

As the county continues to battle the opioid epidemic, the new tools will also allow caseworkers to easily monitor all services a client is receiving and track the success of treatment, including care delivered by multiple providers.

“As the demand on our social services continues to grow, this board is committed to doing all we can to help those in need and safeguard taxpayer money,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries said. “STADIA will ensure we’re putting our dollars where they need to go to reach the highest number of people.’’