Lori Shibinette

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette

State officials have presented a plan to enlist eight private providers to help accommodate adults being held in hospital emergency rooms while awaiting mental health treatment beds.

The Executive Council is expected to vote Wednesday on the request of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette to use $1.7 million in federal COVID-19 grants for this purpose. The council is meeting at the Colonial Theatre in Keene.

The contracts are part of the state’s response to the state Supreme Court decision which ruled that New Hampshire failed to give due process to those who are being involuntarily kept in hospital emergency rooms.

The justices said the state did not give these patients the right to contest their detention within three days of arrival.

The eight providers are nursing homes and assisted living centers that have agreed to set aside beds for geriatric patients with mental health issues.

Under the proposed contracts, the state has agreed to pay these providers $45,000 for each bed that they set aside for the next year. The state has also agreed to pay $289 per day for patients that are not eligible for the Medicaid health care insurance program that serves lower-income seniors.

If approved, the contracts will add these beds to the mental health system:

Peak Health Care at Keene: 3 beds.

Peak Health Care at Portsmouth: 1 bed.

Riverside Rest Home, Dover: 3 beds.

Morrison Hospital Assn., Whitefield: 1 bed.

Genesis Health Care System: 12 beds.

Riverglen House, Littleton: 1 bed.

As Life Goes On, Rochester, 3 beds.

Sununu’s $100M plan

Shibinette said it’s because the pandemic increased demands on the mental health system that these beds can be paid for from federal American Rescue Plan grants.

“Many of these patients have stable psychiatric conditions but continue to need supportive care in a long-term care environment,” Shibinette said.

Last month, Gov. Chris Sununu presented an outline for how he would spend $100 million that would pay for more than 150 additional treatment beds.

Sununu said operators of the state’s acute-care hospitals have stepped forward and agreed to dedicate 30 hospital beds statewide for mental health patients.

The plan also calls for locating six new transitional housing beds in each of the state’s 10 counties.

The new two-year state budget also will pay to complete construction of a 24-bed forensic psychiatric hospital to be built on the grounds of the New Hampshire Hospital.

The previous state budget had earmarked $8.5 million in startup money for the same project.