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OhioMHAS Launches Online Tool to Provide Real-Time Data on Psychiatric Crisis Bed Availability

By Rebecca Gallant on 
Posted on November 10, 2020

OhioMHAS Launches Online Tool to Provide Real-Time Data on Psychiatric Crisis Bed Availability

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center Partners in the Statewide Effort to Help Link Patients with Serious Mental Illness to Inpatient Care

 

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services unveiled a new tool today that will improve access to inpatient psychiatric care for residents in Northeast Ohio with serious mental illness. The Behavioral Health Connection, or B-CON, is an online psychiatric bed registry intended to facilitate timely admission to an inpatient psychiatric unit. This tool is part of a larger effort in Ohio to meet people with serious mental illness where they are and to ensure they receive the care they need in the most appropriate setting.

“All too often, individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis have long delays in obtaining appropriate services. These delays result in serious consequences, including long waits at home, in emergency departments, or in jails until necessary services become available. Reducing these delays is a top priority for the Department,” said OhioMHAS Medical Director Justin Trevino, M.D. in the announcement. “We believe this registry will improve patient care, ease overcrowding in emergency rooms, and expedite the process of connecting patients with psychiatric hospitals and hospital psychiatric units.”

Limited inpatient beds and lack of knowledge of bed availability present major barriers to adequate care for people with serious mental illness. Ohio is one of 23 states awarded $150,000 in one-time funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to establish and/or expand comprehensive, psychiatric crisis bed registry programs.

B-CON is built on the OpenBeds® platform, which provides a real-time view of available psychiatric beds. The online portal will be used by emergency departments, psychiatrists and other physicians, and clinicians to quickly find available beds so individuals in psychiatric crisis can rapidly access inpatient treatment.

“St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is excited to be a participating hospital in B-CON, which will be an excellent new tool to help ensure individuals seeking crisis psychiatric care receive the access to services in a coordinated manner,” said Michael J. Biscaro, Psy.D., ABPP (Forensic), chief of behavioral health, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “We support this effort, as this as the foundation for future care coordination. This registry will help our community quickly find available beds to help people in the moment of psychiatric crisis." 

“Hospitals must work together with the local and state mental health and addiction boards to support consistent coordination and care transitions. It has the potential to create a platform for future coordination and collaboration to outpatient services,” said Dr. Biscaro.

Behavioral Health at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center offers a variety of inpatient and outpatient services to those in need of behavioral health treatment, whether for psychiatric or substance use disorders. Current services include inpatient psychiatry, inpatient detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program and outpatient psychiatry, as well as newly added services in outpatient dual diagnosis and outpatient mental health treatment.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center's addiction treatment center, known as Rosary Hall, has been at the forefront of treating drug dependency for more than 65 years – treating more than 100,000 individuals with the compassionate care that is the hallmark of the hospital.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center’s Psychiatric Emergency Department (PED) is a critical safety net service, and is one of two in the State of Ohio and one of only seven in the nation. It is the most efficient method to assess the acute psychiatric needs of people transported by law enforcement and health care agencies from 59 municipalities.

Broad Participation in B-CON

Hospitals participating in B-CON include: Akron Children’s Hospital, Ashtabula County Medical Center, Assurance Health (Hudson), ClearVista Health and Wellness (Lorain), Generations Behavioral Health (Geneva), Highland Springs, MetroHealth System, Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare (Northfield), and Southwest General Hospital-Oakview Behavioral Health (Middleburgh Heights) and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. Community partners include National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio, Lorain Mental Health and Drug Court, and Portage Mental and Drug Court. Additional partners are expected to join the project.

Staff at each hospital will regularly update psychiatric bed availability as patients are discharged and beds become available. Although the project initially focuses on enhancing access to inpatient psychiatric care, the Department expects enhanced access to outpatient services, support services, and care for substance use disorders as the system expands in Northeast Ohio and to other regions of the state.

“On behalf of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, we applaud the efforts of the Ohio Department of Health and Addiction Services in taking this critical step forward to curb health care spending while ensuring access to quality services,” said Dr. Biscaro.

 

 


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