For first time in years, Sununu says no mental health patients stuck in hospital ERs

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Gov. Chris Sununu (Courtesy photo)

CONCORD - Gov. Chris Sununu and Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette announced on Monday that there are no longer any adults in hospital emergency departments waiting for inpatient psychiatric treatment for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
"We are moving full speed ahead and are breaking down barriers in order to serve our most vulnerable," said Gov. Chris Sununu. "While there is much more work to be done, our immediate actions have started to show promising results - and we are not letting up."
On May 13, Governor Chris Sununu issued an executive order that allows HHS to take immediate steps to ensure that New Hampshire residents experiencing a mental health crisis receive timely and appropriate medical care.

The Department has worked to implement short-term solutions to the ED wait list, including offering long-term care facilities a $45,000 per bed incentive to accept geropsychiatric patients from New Hampshire Hospital or the Glencliff Home, creating an additional 25 beds at New Hampshire Hospital.
"I want to thank long-term care facilities that have partnered with the Department to increase bed capacity, as well as the staff and leadership at New Hampshire Hospital for collaboratively creating opportunities to serve people with mental health needs," said DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette. "We continue to address barriers to mental health care, and are working with our partners to create new and innovative practices and programs to serve our residents long term."
New Hampshire Hospital has effectively managed the wait list in partnership with long-term care facilities that have accepted patients at New Hampshire Hospital whose psychiatric conditions have stabilized but continue to require supportive residential care.
NH's initial reforms rely on centralized in-patient care to ensure compliance with the NH Supreme Court's ruling. The long-term plan will require increased community-based services throughout the State. The Department will be presenting contracts within the next month to the Executive Council for mobile crisis response for all populations, contracting with children's residential providers to provide services across the continuum of care. In addition to these efforts, the Department continues its work to implement the 10-year Mental Health Plan to address barriers to mental health care.

The bottleneck in hospital emergency departments for patients with mental health challenges has been around for several years, detailed three years ago by The Rochester Voice.

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