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Department of Behavioral Health

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The Department of Behavioral Health conducts regular service reviews and analyzes data to help us design and implement recovery oriented services that are available when needed and easy to access no matter the age or neighborhood.   We also conduct annual consumer satisfaction surveys to engage directly with the people we serve.  We make this information available to the public so consumers, clients, advocates, and our partners are empowered to work with us to build a high performing behavioral health system.
The Applied Research and Evaluation Unit (ARE) provides data analysis, technical assistance, research and reporting within the Department.  It also assists with data collection, platform management, and analysis to support  data driven decision-making.   
For additional information or inquiries, please contact Laura Heaven, LICSW, Director of Organizational Development, at (202) 671-4147 or [email protected].
Mental Health and Substance Use Report on Expenditures and Services (MHEASURES)

The Mental Health and Substance Use Report on Expenditures and Services (MHEASURES) is a comprehensive overview of the usage of community based mental health and substance use disorder services. Published semi-annually, it provides a summary of key agency measures related to service cost, utilization and access to the public behavioral health system.  It is used to identify utilization trends. The following information is contained:

  • Enrollment data by age group
  • Service utilization by age group
  • Utilization by service type/level of care
  • Percent of adult consumers with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and children and youth with
    Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED)
  • Cost and utilization data
  • Funding Source

The report is based on two quarters of data which is analyzed 90 days after the close of the second quarter to account for claims lag.  Reports are published January 15 and July 15 of each fiscal year. Please note that prior to July 15, 2015, the report covered public mental services only.


Measuring Provider Performance

DBH is annually required by the Mayor’s office to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure and assess progress in improving behavioral health services and outcomes across the District. The Measuring Provider Performance reports provide data on the seven DBH KPIs that focus on services delivered by DBH-certified, community-based providers that have contractual agreements with the District. These seven KPIs encompass domains of care such as the timeliness of services and patient satisfaction.

The DBH report, Measuring Provider Performance: Building a Stronger System of Behavioral Health Care, summarizes provider- and system-level performance on behavioral health care services provided to children, youth, and adults. This report seeks to provide data that stakeholders (i.e., providers, consumers, clients, advocates, policymakers) can use to drive improvements in timely access to appropriate behavioral health services.

DBH Measuring Provider Performance Report_FY 21
DBH Measuring Provider Performance Report_FY 21_Detailed Tables
DBH Measuring Provider Performance Report_FY 20
DBH Measuring Provider Performance Report _Supplement_Box Plots
DBH Measuring Provider Performance_Supplement - Detailed Tables of Performance

Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) Program
The Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) program in the District of Columbia was established in collaboration with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the Department of Behavioral Health  and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI DC). The 40-hour training program teaches patrol officers the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and the best de-escalation techniques. Since the program was established in 2009, about 100 officers are trained each year.    
The two primary goals of the CIO program are safety and the diversion of nonviolent individuals with mental illnesses  away from the criminal justice system to more appropriate mental health services. Key outcomes are: 
  • Increased appropriate diversion to mental health care rather than adjudication in criminal justice system
  • Fewer injuries to citizens or police officers
  • Shorter crisis response times
  • Decreased preventable arrests
  • Increased mental health referrals by police officers 

Annual trend reports provide a summary of findings from available data that show trends in characteristics of persons and incidents where CIOs respond, the behaviors that led to the dispatch of a CIO, and the outcome of the calls.

Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) Program Annual Trend Report Reporting Period: FY14 through FY17

Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) Program Annual Trend Report Reporting Period: FY11 through FY16   

Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) Program Annual Trend Report Reporting Period: FY11 through FY15

Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO) Program Trend Data Report Reporting Period: FY11 through FY14

Consumer Satisfaction

The Department of Behavioral Health, along with other states, is required by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) to conduct an annual survey of consumers’ perceptions of the mental health care they received from the community mental health system. The results from this survey are reported annually to CMHS as part of the requirements for the Mental Health Block Grant. Collecting data nationwide allows the opportunity to look at best practices on a national level, identify areas for improvement, and work to implement changes.
DBH conducts surveys with adult consumers of mental health services through the Mental Health Statistics Improvement Plan (MHSIP) survey and with the parents/caregivers of child and youth consumers through the Youth Services Survey for Families (YSS-F). While not required by SAMHSA, DBH also conducts a satisfaction survey with adults who received substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.
Findings across all three surveys are summarized in an annual Behavioral Health Satisfaction Survey (BHSS) report.


Data Brief

A Data Brief is a one-page summary of data related to an important topic that highlight major findings of analysis and include implications for practice.  New data briefs will be added regularly.

Outcomes of Incidents Involving MPD Crisis Intervention Officers (CIO) FY11-FY15

Caregivers’ Perceptions of Public Mental Health Services in the District of Columbia

Community Services Review

The Community Services Review (CSR) is a qualitative review process used to evaluate the quality of services offered through DBH. The review process is a case-based inquiry of services received by individual consumers that involves a record review and interviews with all team members, including the consumer.  Reviewers analyze the facts of a case to score specific indicators following a standardized protocol. The scoring uses a six point scale, with scores of one, two and three considered to be the Unacceptable range and scores of four, five and six to be the Acceptable range.
In addition to the numerical ratings, reviewers write a narrative case story outlining the consumer’s status and the system’s practice.  Providers are given feedback on the review, including strengths, challenges and recommended next steps.  Information is aggregated into an annual summary report that analyzes that year’s findings and compares performance to previous years.

Adult Community Services Review Sumary Report FY2016
Adult Community Services Review Summary Report FY2014

For more information, please contact Susan Koehne, Consumer Services Review Manager, at [email protected] or (202) 673-2148.

Saint Elizabeths Hospital publishes a Performance Related Information for Staff and Managers (PRISM) report that presents monthly data with twelve-month trends on census, basic demographics and selected performance indicators such as unusual incidents, seclusion and restraint usage, and medication variances or adverse drug reactions. The reports are used for quality improvement initiatives by providing critical information about patients and staff performance in delivering timely and effective services.

Synar Report

The Synar report provides detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access laws and future plans to ensure compliance with federal Synar regulations and reduce youth tobacco access rates. 

FFY 2024 Synar Report
FFY 2019 Synar Report
FFY 2018 Synar Report