Crisis Preparation and Recovery, Inc. has been completing Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI) Evaluations on behalf of the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) in Maricopa County since August of 2009. The Evaluations department is comprised of a group of highly skilled and experienced evaluators that travel throughout Maricopa County to various hospitals, jails, prisons, and outpatient locations. SMI Evaluations for members active with other RBHAs in Arizona, but who end up in Maricopa County Hospitals are also completed on a case-by-case basis.
What is the purpose of a Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI) evaluation?
The purpose of a SMI evaluation is to screen individuals for their eligibility for the SMI program. The main goal of the SMI program is to provide psychiatric care and clinical support to individuals suffering from serious mental illnesses, as mandated by Arizona State law. These services involve ongoing contact and intervention by one of the RBHA’s contracted clinical teams. If you meet the eligibility criteria for the SMI program, you may be assigned to the clinic of your choice, and may be assigned a Case Manager or Case Coordinator who would be your main point of contact. If a Case Manager is assigned, this person will contact you routinely, coordinate your services, and perform home visits to monitor your stability.
If clinically indicated, Mercy Maricopa has a higher level of care available within the SMI program called Assertive Community Treatment (ACT). ACT is an evidenced based practice and a way of delivering a full range of services for those diagnosed with a serious mental illness. Members can receive ACT services in their homes, where they work, and in other settings in the community where problems occur or where support is needed. The ACT team is a multidisciplinary team consisting of a psychiatrist, two RN’s, peer support specialist, independent living specialist, employment Specialist, rehabilitation specialist, two substance abuse specialists, ACT specialist, clinical coordinator and a program assistant, giving our members ongoing and individualized care. ACT services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Someone is always available from the team to handle emergencies and the team will fit their schedules around the needs of members.
How do I request a SMI evaluation?
Any adult individual, eighteen or older, interested in scheduling a routine appointment at one of our outpatient locations or interested in completing a Tele-Evaluation may call us at: (480) 804-9542. Please note that the individual requesting the service must call or give verbal consent over the phone for a relative or advocate to help with the scheduling process. Evaluations for seventeen year old individuals about to turn eighteen are completed on a case-by-case basis to assist with the transition from child to adult services. A telephonic screening lasting 10 to 20 minutes will be completed to gather all the pertinent information necessary for scheduling. If you are interested in participating in the evaluation via video conferencing please read the Tele-Evaluation section below to understand the technological requirements for it.
If you are a hospital social worker, other mental health professional, or community stakeholder interested in requesting a SMI evaluation on behalf of a client at a Maricopa County hospital, jail, or prison, you may email us the attached SMI referral form at:
Once a referral is received, the dispatching team will respond to the request indicating if the client is eligible for an SMI evaluation. Any Maricopa County resident that has not had a determination of SMI eligibility within the previous six months is eligible to be evaluated. Mercy Maricopa does serve some Pinal County zip codes as well.
How long does an SMI Evaluation last?
SMI Evaluations typically last between 1 ½ to 2 hours. During this process, all the necessary paperwork is signed and a comprehensive medical and psychiatric history is gathered. A relative or advocate may accompany you during the evaluation process if you so wish.
What should I bring to my evaluation?
It is helpful for you to bring two types of identification with you to the evaluation, such as an Arizona driver’s license, a birth certificate, a passport, etc. The Department of Behavioral Health Services requires that an individual must provide evidence of lawful presence in order to obtain SMI services. Please note that if you are active with AHCCCS (T19, which is Medicaid in Arizona) that serves as proof of lawful presence. For non-T19 individuals, the evaluation may proceed even if you do not have any form of identification, but even if eligible SMI services will not be offered until lawful presence is established. Bringing copies of previous psychiatric treatment, if applicable, is also helpful.
What happens after the evaluation?
After the evaluation is completed, your case is sent to the Crisis Response Network (CRN) for determination. CRN reviews all SMI applications across the state and will send you a letter with the evaluation outcome once a determination is made. For questions about your determination you may contact CRN directly at: (855) 832-2866.
Crisis Preparation and Recovery offers the opportunity to complete SMI Evaluations through video conferencing using Telassis software. No downloads to your computer are required and the technology is safe and HIPAA compliant. Completing an evaluation in this manner, however, does require a certain level of technological understanding and planning on your part. During your telephonic screening you will be asked some questions to assess whether this method might be a good fit for you. If a Tele-Evaluation is recommended, an evaluator will call you to discuss some of the requirements explained below, answer any questions you might have, and determine if a Tele-Evaluation is appropriate and feasible. Once all necessary paperwork is signed and returned an evaluation date and time will be set.
These are some of the most important requirements for a Tele-Evaluation:
1) Access to a computer or laptop with a camera and microphone
2) A personal email address
3) An adequate internet connection- Most high speed connections and even hotspots have sufficient bandwidth for Tele-evaluation purposes
4) Telassis works best using Google Chrome as your browser. Chrome can be downloaded in minutes from Google’s main website
5) Privacy- clients need to have access to a completely quiet and confidential environment during which the two-hour evaluation can take place. Interruptions and distractions, such as children walking in, barking dogs, or ringing phones are to be avoided. Therefore, clients are responsible for making sure the environment during the evaluation meets these expectations
6) Signing of paperwork- Prior to the evaluation being scheduled, the client will be emailed the evaluation paperwork, which needs to be signed and emailed back. Each form signed is discussed individually during the evaluation process.
7) As part of the evaluation requirements, any clients that are not T19 (Medicaid recipients in Arizona) need to provide evidence of both ID and Legal presence (e.g. copy of AZ driver’s license and copy of birth certificate or US passport). These documents can be emailed along with the signed evaluation documents