Mental Health Hold Task Force

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Why the Mental Health Hold Task Force was created

Gov. John Hickenlooper directed the Colorado Department of Human Services to create a task force to examine issues of concern around mental health holds in Colorado. The request was included in the letter the governor issued in June when he vetoed Senate Bill 16-169, which addressed mental health hold practices.

In vetoing the bill, the governor issued a statement that said, in part:

“We agree that appropriate mental health facilities are not always readily available to treat persons having a mental health crisis. While well-intentioned, we are concerned that SB 16-169 does not provide adequate due process for individuals.”

CDHS creates task force and articulates mission

In June, CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha called for applicants to serve on the task force, and articulated a list of issues for the task force to address. 

Specifically the Mental Health Hold Task Force was asked to meet a Jan. 1, 2017 deadline imposed by the governor to make statutory, policy, and administrative recommendations to:
  • Ensure proper mental health treatment for individuals in crisis, while satisfying individual's rights under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and due process standards. This should include exploring models used in other states;
  • End the practice of confining in jail persons with mental illness who have committed no crime;
  • Where appropriate, streamline and align regulatory oversight of the mental health hold process while ensuring necessary patient care requirements and protecting patient rights; 
  • Understand the need for, and overcome barriers to, providing inpatient psychiatric care to persons in mental health crisis;
  • Maximize existing state resources, including examining potential enhancements that can be made to the current crisis services and transportation systems;
  • Develop data tracking and provider communication systems to better understand the scope of the mental health hold problem in Colorado.

Task force members

On July 12, 2016, Director Bicha announced the members of the Mental Health Hold Task Force. They are:
  • Irene Aguilar, State Senator
  • Vincent Atchity, Equitas Foundation
  • Lori Banks, Colorado Crisis Connection
  • Elicia Bunch, Centennial Peaks Hospital
  • Margaret Heil, Colorado Department of Public Safety
  • Julie Hoskins, Weld County Judge 
  • Mark Ivandick, Disability Law Colorado
  • Cheri Jahn, State Senator
  • Chris Johnson, County Sheriffs of Colorado
  • Moe Keller, Mental Health Colorado
  • Amanda Kearney-Smith, Colorado Mental Wellness Network
  • Tracy Kraft-Tharp, State Representative
  • David Krouse, Fruita Police Department
  • Randy Kuykendall, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 
  • Lois Landgraf, State Representative
  • Elizabeth Lowdermilk, Member 27-65 Advisory Committee
  • Denise Maes, Colorado ACLU
  • Beth Martinez Humenik, State Senator
  • Richard Martinez, Colorado Psychiatric Society
  • Fred McKee, Delta County Sheriff 
  • Patrick McKinstry, Denver City and County Attorneys Office
  • Matt Mortier, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies/Division of Insurance
  • Katherine Mulready, Colorado Hospital Association
  • Sharon Raggio, Mind Springs Health
  • Lenya Robinson, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing
  • Sally Ryman, Grand County Rural Health Network
  • Valerie Schlecht, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition
  • Cheryl Storey, West Pines Behavioral Health
  • Nancy VanDeMark, Colorado Department of Human Services/Office of Behavioral Health
  • Doug Wilson, Colorado Public Defender

Public meetings

The task force will meet regularly to address the issues at hand. The public is welcome, and encouraged to attend these meetings. The task force will post notice of these meetings on this web site, as well as minutes from prior meetings.

 Meeting Date Time             Location
 8-4-2016 1 p.m. History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver CO
 8-23-2016 1 p.m. History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver CO
 9-7-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 9-21-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 10-6-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 10-18-2016 (Tuesday) 1 p.m. 1575 Sherman, Denver, CO, 4th floor conference room 4 a/b
 11-2-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 11-16-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 12-7-2016 1 p.m. 1525 Sherman, Denver, CO, 1st floor conference room
 12-21-2016 1 p.m. History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver CO

Meeting Materials (Agendas, Minutes, etc.)



10-6-16 (Thursday)
        Discussion Materials:
10-18-16 (Tuesday)
Follow up materials from meeting
        Follow up materials from Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council (CBHC) - Frank Cornelia
Reference for 11/16


Draft language for discussion:
For information about the Mental Health Hold Task Force, please contact Joscelyn Gay at
Conference calling information for meetings:
     Passcode: 478696#