Community Services Division (CSD)

Julienne Giard, LCSW, Section Chief, (860) 418-6946

The Community Services Division is the “operations” arm of the DMHAS Office of the Commissioner (OOC). Regional monitoring staff maintain regular contact with the Department’s private not for profit behavioral health service contractors. Funding application reviews, contract oversight and on-site visits are core functions that ensure ongoing communication, quality management and troubleshooting issues of concern for our mutual consumers in recovery. In addition, CSD staff provide technical assistance to contractors, assist with connecting individuals and family members to services and investigate complaints. New programs and initiative implementations are overseen by CSD staff. CSD manages DMHAS’ Community Call Line and assists individuals and family members with an array of behavioral health concerns. The CSD Director is the Commissioner designated State Opioid Treatment Authority (SOTA), and as such, serves as the state’s liaison with the federal agency that regulates opioid treatment services.

Critical Incident Data Collection               

The reporting and review of critical incidents is an important component of the ongoing evaluation and improvement of the quality of care and services provided by DMHAS-operated and funded agencies and programs. The Community Services and Evaluation, Quality Management and Improvement (EQMI) Divisions are responsible for the coordination of this process. 

Critical incidents, as defined by The Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services Commissioner's Policy Statement Chapter 6.26, are incidents that may have a serious impact on DMHAS clients, staff, funded agencies or the public, or may bring about adverse publicity.  There are several routes by which critical incidents are reported to the CSD at the Office of the Commissioner:  

1) DMHAS-operated Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHA): report incidents related to DMHAS-operated programs and affiliated private-not-for-profit agencies funded by DMHAS for mental health and/or dual diagnoses programs; 

2) Private-not-for-profit LMHA’s: report incidents related to mental health and/or dual diagnoses programs operated directly or by subcontract; 

3) Private-not-for-profit, substance abuse treatment agencies: report incidents related to their programs that are funded by DMHAS. 

When a facility becomes aware of a critical incident, verbal notification is expected within three hours to either the Office of the Commissioner Regional Manager or state-operated Local Mental Health Authority for incidents of a very serious or high profile nature such as an untimely death of a client, alleged client abuse by a staff member, an alleged serious crime by a client or staff member, an AWOL or a program evacuation.    

After normal business hours or as directed by the Critical Incident Report Line, a verbal report is made by calling the switchboard at Connecticut Valley Hospital at 860-262-5000 and requesting that the CVH Switchboard contact the Manager who is on-call. Critical incidents that occur within DMHAS' Young Adult Services (YAS) Programs should be called in directly to DMHAS' YAS staff. An electronically submitted written report is required within one business day.    

Critical incident follow-up reviews are conducted by the reporting agency within 30 days of the incident.  This review is expected to focus on the causative factors and may result in the development of a corrective action plan that would reduce the risk of reoccurrence of a similar event.  Written accounts of these reviews are faxed to CSD, checked for completeness and entered into the critical incident database. 


Substance Use Services
Access Line
What is the Access Line?
The 24/7 Access Line, operated by Wheeler and funded by Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), facilitates access to Substance Use services for Connecticut residents. Wheeler Staff use a recovery-oriented approach to ask screening questions, and provide callers with education, support, hope and tangible assistance to individuals having difficulty living with substance use issues. Minimally, resource education is provided to each caller on various available treatment options; medications for addiction (e.g., methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, naloxone); and various other community programs. The Wheeler staff use the DMHAS CT Addiction website 24/7 to assist callers. 

Services include:
Referrals to:
o Same-Day Walk-in Assessment Centers
o DMHAS Funded Substance Use and Mental Health Outpatient Treatment
o Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) information
o Withdrawal Management (i.e., detox) programs
o Residential Rehabilitation Facilities dedicated to Substance Use Treatment
Promotion of/access to naloxone as a life-saving measure to reverse an overdose for those struggling with an opioid addiction
Education regarding local and regional harmful illicit substances like Fentanyl
Coordination of DMHAS-funded transportation to and from inpatient/residential programs, if needed as a last resort

Access Line’s role with Withdrawal Management and Residential Rehabilitation Facilities:
 Review DMHAS CT Addiction Website, and contact programs as necessary to determine bed availability for those individuals who seek and are already pre-screened for these levels of care;
 When a Withdrawal Management Bed or Rehab bed is available, Access Line Staff will conduct a three (3) way conference call with facility to complete the admission Intake;
 Answer questions for providers and family members about available levels of care and community resources for individuals and families dealing with substance use and mental health related challenges; and
 Provide program names and phone numbers to callers who may be interested in having this information for future reference.

Access Line transportation guidelines:

Access Line provides:
*Transportation from home, hospital, treatment program or other community location to Withdrawal Management (WM) or Substance Use Residential Treatment Programs, provided other possibilities have been explored;
*Transportation from a WM or Substance Use Residential Treatment program to home or other community location, if other transportation options have been explored.
Access Line does not provide:
*Transportation from Withdrawal Management (WM) or Residential treatment to home or other location, if the program was not successfully completed or individual leaves against Medical Advice (AMA)
*Transportation to or from MAT or other Outpatient levels of care