Division of Behavioral Health Services

Arnold v. Sarn

  • Attention: the Division of Behavioral Health Services is transitioning to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. As of July 1, 2016, the website for behavioral health information will be: http://www.azahcccs.gov/

    As BHS staff are transitioning to AHCCCS, email is being forwarded to new addresses. If the individual you are contacting has been moved, your email will be forwarded until June 30, 2016 and an automatic message will be sent providing new email addresses at AHCCCS which are generally First Name.Last Name@azahcccs.gov

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Arnold v. Sarn suit—click any question to reveal its answer. If you have additional questions you would like to include in this list, please email us.

Who is a member?

A member is someone who is: at least 18 years of age, has been medically determined to have a serious mental illness, and lives in Maricopa County.

What is GSA6?

Geographic service area six is Maricopa County.

How many persons with serious mental illness are there in Maricopa County?

The latest census shows there are more than 21,000 persons with serious mental illness in the county.

Why don't these services apply state-wide?

The Arnold v. Sarn Stipulation for Providing Community Services and for Terminating the Litigation was signed by the parties in January 2014, and again applies to members in Maricopa County. Nevertheless, the principles agreed to by the parties and incorporated into the behavioral health system in Maricopa County will be encouraged state-wide by ADHS.

Who were Arnold and Sarn?

Charles "Chick" Arnold is an attorney who specializes in mental health legal issues, serving the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill and the elderly. He was the guardian for the plaintiffs when the initial lawsuit was filed in 1981.

James E. Sarn, MD, MPH was the director of ADHS from 1980-1983.

How do we track services provided?

ADHS worked with plaintiffs and officials at the RBHA to clearly define each service area so a census could be gathered before the increase in services. The increase in ACT teams, Supportive Housing, Supported Employment and Peer and Family Services began July 1, 2014.

What is an ACT team?

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams are to be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for those seriously mentally ill members in Maricopa County who have been assigned to a team. The teams provide individualized, flexible services to those living in the community. An ACT team includes more than 10 professional health care workers with varied experience, including: a psychiatrist, nurse, social worker, substance abuse specialist, vocational rehabilitation specialist, and a peer specialist.

What is Supportive Housing?

Supportive Housing is permanent housing with tenancy rights and services that support persons with a serious mental illness to attain and keep affordable housing. Supportive housing is both the housing, and the support services to help someone stay in integrated housing. Critical aspects of supportive housing are: tenancy rights, the tenant pays no more than 30% of his or her income toward rent, and that the tenant has a choice of where he/she can live. This program also includes rental subsidies, vouchers, bridge funding.

What is Supported Employment?

Supported employment services help persons with a serious mental illness prepare, identify, attain and maintain competitive employment. This program also includes job coaching, transportation, assistive technology, specialized job training, and individually tailored supervision.

What are Peer and Family services?

Peer support is provided by those who have personal experience with mental illness and substance abuse. These services, which can be provided in individual or group settings, are aimed at assisting in the creation of skills to promote long-term, sustainable recovery.

Family support services are for those family members interested in supporting their family member's treatment and recovery from mental illness and/or substance abuse. Family members receive training to enable them to identify and provide assistance when their family member may be experiencing an episode of crisis. Support services also include education about mental illness and substance abuse, and about those community services available.