RD135 - Annual Report on the Implementation of Marcus Alert and the Impact and Effectiveness of the Comprehensive Crisis System – November 15, 2021

Executive Summary:

Marcus-David Peters, who was a young, Black biology teacher who was shot and killed in Richmond, Virginia by police during a mental health crisis. The Marcus-David Peters Act was signed into law following the 2020 Special Session of the General Assembly. The Act in its entirety includes the build-out of a comprehensive, statewide behavioral health response system, as well as a series of local protocols and supports to coordinate between law enforcement, 911, and the comprehensive crisis system. Elements of the comprehensive crisis system are explained below in more detail. This report provides an overview of the planning process thus far and progress made towards the measurement of each indicator required in the act. The details of the planning process and a summary of the state plan for implementation of the Marcus-David Peters Act can be found here: https://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/assets/doc/hr/Health-Equity/mdpa/final-state-plan_july-1-2021_ma.pdf

Implementation of the Marcus-David Peters Act is currently on schedule, with the comprehensive state plan completed by July 1, 2021 and Marcus Alert programs due to launch in each of Virginia’s five regions (referred to as “initial areas") by December 1, 2021. Because of the interconnectedness of the different components of the crisis system, not all features will be fully operational on December 1, 2021. This is primarily due to the build out of the five regional call centers currently under development and will only have certain elements implemented on December 1, 2021. The five initial areas are working closely with their developing call centers and temporary processes are being stood up to ensure that initial implementation occurs on time. For example, a secondary law enforcement-only phone line will be utilized at the beginning of implementation to ensure that all law enforcement calls from Marcus Alert areas are prioritized by the call center as the broader infrastructure continues to develop. DBHDS is working to ensure Virginia meets the requirement of July 1, 2026 to implement Marcus Alert programs statewide in all 40 locally-operated community services boards (CSBs). Areas of focus for this reporting period include:

• State Plan – Comprehensive state plan completed by DBHDS and the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) by July 1, 2021.

Regional Implementation – Marcus Alert programs due to launch in each of Virginia’s five regions (referred to as “initial areas") by December 1, 2021.

Launching More Programs – The next five localities have been identified to launch Marcus Alert programs by July 1, 2023.

Mobile Crisis Coverage – Statewide coverage by mobile crisis teams (one-hour response) continues to grow and is expected to be robust, statewide, and available 24/7 by July 1, 2024. Importantly, there are ongoing significant workforce challenges in the behavioral health system exacerbated by COVID-19 that will impact the speed at which 24/7 coverage is achieved.

Local Protocols – Three local Marcus Alert protocols are required statewide by July 1, 2022. These three local protocols include: 1) diversion of certain 911 calls to crisis call centers, 2) agreements between mobile crisis regional hubs and law enforcement, and 3) policies for law enforcement participation in the Marcus Alert system. The level of additional local supports for community coverage to be achieved statewide will be contingent on the level of funding available as well as the local planning processes currently underway.

As progress is made on implementation of Marcus Alert programs across Virginia, DBHDS will continue working with state and local partners to capture more data and expanding reporting capabilities.