SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Each year, roughly 1,000 unique individuals make repeated use of the County’s emergency and inpatient psychiatric facilities. In addition to severe mental health conditions, these “frequent users” often experience substance use disorders, lack of access to housing and other supportive services, and/or poor adherence to medication regimens. On December 12, 2014, the County of Santa Clara released a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify an agency to spearhead an innovative “Pay for Success” program to serve these clients through an evidence-based intervention that will improve health outcomes and reduce the number of emergency and inpatient acute psychiatric hospitalizations.
“This innovative model allows the County to improve accountability for government spending and, more importantly, to improve health outcomes by driving resources toward rigorous, evidence-based programs,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese. “Santa Clara County is proud to be the leader in advancing Pay for Success in California.”
This RFP is part of Santa Clara County’s Acute Mental Health: Frequent Users Care Coordination Pay for Success Project. The selected agency will enter into a Pay for Success (PFS) contract with the County, under which the County only pays for services if and when successful results are achieved. This PFS initiative is the first in the U.S. to target mental health and the second PFS project in the County and in California, positioning the County at the forefront of the national movement towards performance-based contracting for social services.
“Frequent users of the County’s mental health system should have access to programs that address their unique needs and are proven to work,” said Gary Graves, the County’s Chief Operating Officer. “This RFP is the next step in Santa Clara County’s commitment to improving outcomes for its most vulnerable citizens.”
Pay for Success is an innovative funding model that drives government resources toward social programs that are proven to be effective at providing results to the people who need them the most. PFS contracts, sometimes called Social Impact Bonds, combine nonprofit expertise in addressing social issues, private sector funding, and rigorous evaluation to tackle social problems. Through Pay for Success, governments can draw in greater resources to combat community challenges, tapping private and philanthropic funding for the upfront costs of programs. Throughout the course of the PFS project, the government will track the effectiveness of programs to ensure funding is directed toward programs that succeed in measurably improving the lives of people most in need.
This project is the second of two PFS projects led by the County with support from its advisor, Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating America’s transition to a performance-driven social sector. The County’s first project focuses on reducing chronic homelessness and is expected to launch in July 2015.
Santa Clara County’s efforts to investigate and pursue PFS initiatives were initiated through a community-based exploration led by Step Up Silicon Valley, a project of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, with funding from The Health Trust. The Sobrato Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the California Pay for Success Initiative, administered by the Nonprofit Finance Fund and funded by The James Irvine Foundation, have also provided critical philanthropic support.
# # #