Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Local hospital psychiatric beds saves $$; diminishes admissions at state psych hosp; keeps patients close to home: WIN. WIN. WIN.

Haywood Regional Hospital just opened up a Behavioral Health unit. This was put together by Smoky Mountain Center (SMC) LME and in particular was headed up by the very excellent Doug Trantham of SMC LME.

I learned last night at the NAMI Buncombe meeting that The Balsam Center, which was the small psychiatric hospital just outside of Waynesville, NC, which had been such a unit, is closing. They cannot have both of them, it seems.

NC State Senator Martin Nesbitt, indicated last night at the Buncombe NAMI meeting, that there is clearly a distinct need for psychiatric hospital beds which are community based and that the Legislative Oversight Committee (LOC), of which he is co-chair along w/ Verla Insko, are moving funding forward for this to take place across NC. He stated last night that the state legislature is 'paying for these beds', also commenting that as Medicaid kicks in for the people who are patients in these beds, it becomes evident that state $$$ have to pay for "5 out of 15 of the beds."

Thus, there appears to be a savings associated w/ creating local psychiatric beds within existing hospitals. It also keeps the patients in their communities and then the people who care for them, as well as family members, can visit them.

So, you got:

1. $$$ saved
2. psychiatric patients get to stay close to home
3. fewer people go into the 4 public psychiatric hospitals which diminishes churn which has been accelerated as associated w/ defunding mental health in NC.


I can't believe it! Something happened right!

Former hospital staffer: Why I quit social work at Umstead
Violence, staffing vacancies took toll
Sheila Read - Correspondent
Published: Tue, Dec. 16, 2008

Sheila Read is a graduate student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story is about her time working as a social worker at John Umstead Hospital. sheila2read@gmail.com


".....Record admissions

A few months after I started work, the adult admissions unit achieved a record. The unit had admitted more than 400 patients that month.

In a staff meeting, we were handed red stars cut out of construction paper. The number of admissions was marked in the star's center. This was something to celebrate? I looked at a colleague and rolled my eyes.

Before mental health reform, even 300 admissions per month were rare, veteran employees said.

The state's four psychiatric hospitals saw the number of patients admitted increase by more than 82 percent between 2001 and 2005, The News & Observer reported in its series on mental health reform. During that five-year period, the state cut $15 million from hospital budgets.


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