BOISE • A state-funded crisis center in Idaho Falls has helped more than 2,000 people and saved the state hundreds of thousands of dollars, the head of mental health services in the state told lawmakers Tuesday.

So far, 2,359 people have gone to the crisis center in Idaho Falls, which opened a little more than a year ago, Ross Edmunds, Division of Behavioral Health administrator, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. Edmunds estimated the crisis center has saved $281,124 in hospital emergency room costs and $483,000 in inpatient hospitalization spending, plus saving 1,165 hours of law enforcement time that would have been needed otherwise.

“To me, that expresses that we are seeing success,” Edmunds said.

There are two crisis centers in Idaho — Idaho Falls, plus one in Coeur d’Alene that just opened — and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is requesting $1.72 million this year to fund a third center for southern Idaho. Twin Falls is a possible location.

While the state does provide funding to get the crisis centers started, Edmunds said, the goal is to transition them to being 50 percent locally funded after a few years.