After ER attacks, a call for more care
Here’s what report recommendsHere are some recommendations from the Mental Health Sentinel Event Review Report:
• Each hospital should develop a plan to expand the number of beds.
• Hospitals should establish a network to assign critical patients to available beds.
• Provide additional affordable community housing and consider restructuring of group homes.
• Better training of hospital workers, including all emergency room workers.
• Better assessment and treatment of mentally ill people who have drug and alcohol problems.
• “Weigh the benefit to the delivery of mental health care that would occur with an expansion of Medicaid.”
• Obtain a waiver of Medicaid rules that require a psychiatrist to approve all psychiatric care rather than a nurse practitioner.
• Create a tax-exempt Mental Health Trust, which would be supported by both taxpayer funds and private donations. It’s unclear exactly what the trust would do, but a non-partisan, independent board would control how the money is spent.
• Consider data-sharing between the New Hampshire Hospital and community mental health centers.
• Encourage more physicians to enter psychiatry.
The review released Tuesday makes note of earlier recommendations, but it reports that in-patient psychiatric beds in the state dropped from 526 in 2005 to 384 last year.
The report said hospitals find mental health care is not economically viable because most patients are poor and lack insurance.
But he said some hospitals have taken steps to add psychiatric beds. Franklin Regional Hospital is opening 10 beds for involuntary patients; Elliot Hospital in Manchester is the only other hospital in the state with such beds.
In releasing the report, Hassan noted that Medicaid expansion would provide mental health services for many uninsured people.
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