News‎ > ‎

CDHS Announces the Creation of the Mental Health Hold Task Force

posted Jun 21, 2016, 3:37 PM by Nicole Grabowski - CDHS
On June 9, 2016, Governor John Hickenlooper vetoed Senate Bill 16-169 concerning the emergency procedure for mental health holds. In his veto letter, Governor Hickenlooper directed the Colorado Department of Human Services to create a task force to develop solutions to the underlying problems highlighted by Senate Bill 16-169. Today, I announce the creation of the Mental Health Hold Task Force within the Colorado Department of Human Services.  This task force will ensure that Coloradans experiencing mental health crises have access to appropriate mental health services while preserving their fundamental rights.

Specifically the Mental Health Hold Task Force will 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.
I ask that the task force deliver all recommendations that receive support from two-thirds of the task force’s members in a final report. The task force shall deliver its final report by January 1, 2017.

I would encourage interested parties to apply for the Mental Health Hold Task Force. The deadline for application is July 1, 2016. The task force will be composed of individuals who represent diverse and balanced perspectives with respect to these issues. You may find the application here:

Thank you for your interest in this important issue.


Reggie Bicha
Executive Director, CDHS