INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – IEMS is downscaling out of a pilot program designed to help reform the local criminal justice system.
The Mobile Crisis Assistance Team, or MCAT, was designed for officers, paramedics and clinicians joined in four teams to respond to a range calls. Focusing on calls regarding addiction and mental health crises, their goal was to divert people away from emergency rooms and jails.
But the pilot program is being changed in an effort to lessen the tax burden.
The IndyStar notes MCAT has recently looked markedly different from its inception in August 2017, when it launched to much fanfare as one facet of Hogsett’s proposals for reforming the local criminal justice system.
Hogsett pledged to “profoundly change the way justice is dispensed.”
EMS Chief Charles Miramonti sent the following statement:
“In 2017, in conjunction with several community partners, IEMS began a pilot program to provide a response option for runs involving mental health and/or substance misuse concerns. Our goal then and today is to reduce the reliance on criminal justice resources to address issues related to substance abuse, poverty, and mental health. To help the program achieve greater reach, we have taken what we’ve learned and moved to a model where IEMS responds only to calls needing a paramedic. This allows the MCAT service area to expand by integrating the emergency response component with the current joint IMPD/behavioral health unit.”
IMPD sent the following statement:
“At the end of the first year of the MCAT pilot, data showed that the skills of the paramedics were underutilized, and it was not cost effective for taxpayers for paramedics to remain on the team.
A change like this highlights exactly why MCAT was launched as a pilot – to allow for the flexibility to measure, analyze, and adapt the program to best serve community members who may be in crisis. Other recent modifications include fine-tuning how the team responds to runs and the scope of what the team responds to, as well as changing service hours as a result of usage data. These changes have allowed the program to expand to now serve East, North, Southeast, and Downtown IMPD Districts.”