Addressing an Overwhelmed System: Moving to a Rational System of Care for Patients in Mental Health Crisis

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Presented By

Howard J. Gershon, LFACHE

Founding Principal
New Heights Group

Leslie S. Zun, MD

Medical Director
Lake County Health Department

Stephen M. Merz, FACHE

Merz Healthcare Consulting
About the Session

For the past several years, our healthcare delivery system has been struggling to address an onslaught of behavioral health crises. Many patients have suffered because they haven’t been able to get the kind of help that they need, and others have received services in crowded, medically focused emergency departments or other inappropriate treatment settings. This session will describe an array of service alternatives from crisis call centers to psychiatric emergency departments and the key steps that are required for successful development to address this need.The incidence of behavioral health crises continues to increase throughout the United States resulting in an estimated 20,000–25,000 visits per day to hospital emergency departments. Although many of these patients can be better served by alternative treatment settings, some of which have been established as “best practices,” in many communities these services are often an afterthought or work around.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the range of possibilities for dealing with behavioral health patients in crisis.
  • Explore the operational and financial implications of each potential service to help determine which approach(es) may be most appropriate for your organization.