I had the honor of riding along with Seattle Fire Department’s (SFD) award winning Health One team. This is a multidisciplinary team made up of firefighters and case managers who respond to non-emergency calls to 911, known as a low-acuity response calls, to get individuals the help they need be it non-emergency medical care, mental health care, shelter, or other social services. This person-centered response gives individuals the care they need, relieves pressure on our police and fire departments, emergency rooms, and saves money.
The Health One team responds to various calls including altered mental status, alcohol intoxication, behavioral health emergencies, injury, and calls related to vulnerable adults. These calls previously were responded to by SFD ladder trucks and Seattle Police Department (SPD) vehicles, and the supports available were limited to medical treatment, emergency room visits and occasionally a referral to the Crisis Solutions Center. Now Health One can utilize different resources, can help schedule doctors appointments and can connect the individuals to case management. Additionally, those ladder trucks and police vehicles are left available to respond to other types of crises.
Currently, Health One is largely operating in the Pioneer Square, Downtown, Capitol Hill and Belltown Neighborhoods Monday-Thursday 9am-7pm, during the pandemic, however, the unit has been responding to the entire city as needed. I am looking forward to the expansion of Health One this year with the launch of Health Two and Health Three.
Thank you to Former Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and Alyson McLean for securing funding to get this critical program launched. Thank you to Chief Scoggins and Jon Ehrenfeld for being relentless advocates and brilliant stewards of the program. The Health One Program is the exact type of public safety intervention our city needs to invest in.
Thank you to Theresa, Chris, and Donna for allowing me to ride along and see what you do everyday.