Strategies to Serve the Needs of Psychiatric Patients in Emergency Rooms

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Recent events in a New York emergency room underscore the need for reforms to meet the healthcare needs of psychiatric patients. A new healthcare webinar will present success stories in diverting ED visitors with behavioral health issues to appropriate venues of care to reduce the number of unnecessary emergency room visits and the strain on emergency department resources.

The recent tragedy that occurred in a New York emergency room when a 49-year-old female psychiatric patient died after waiting nearly 24 hours for care, brings to light the growing concern over the increasing number of ER visitors with behavioral health needs, the resulting strain on emergency department resources and the need for a behavioral health triage system in the ER. More than 6 percent of all ER visits are for mental health-related issues -- substance-related disorders, mood disorders and anxiety disorders -- and wait times for these patients can range from eight to 24 hours.

Two organizations that have successfully implemented strategies to divert behavioral health cases to appropriate venues of care will describe their programs during Emergency Department Diversion Through Behavioral Health Linkages, a July 30, 2008 webinar. For more information, please visit

Scheduled Speakers: Joe Eppling, assistant vice president of post acute and behavioral health services at East Jefferson General Hospital and Julie Szempruch, associate vice president for the Midtown Mental Health Center, Wishard Health Services.

Conference Highlights: Complying with EMTALA requirements; creating linkages with behavioral health providers to provide care in appropriate settings; triaging for behavioral health needs in the emergency department; and developing patient education programs on appropriate emergency department use.

Target Audience: CEOs, medical directors, disease management directors, managers and coordinators, health plan executives, care management nurses, health promotion and wellness professionals and business development and strategic planning directors.

Webinar Formats: 90-minute live webinar on July 30, 2008 includes a 30-minute Q&A; "On-Demand" rebroadcast available August 1, 2008; 90-minute recording on CD-ROM with printed transcript or video recording of webinar on DVD available August 25, 2008. For conference details, please visit


"Understaffed hospital EDs are struggling to cope with the more than 50 million behavioral health- related ED visits each year, according to the latest data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. To cope with these numbers, Illinois, Rhode Island and other recipients who shared CMS' $50 million in ER redirection grants earlier this year have included psychiatric diversion tactics in their proposals. As this webinar will demonstrate, partnerships with behavioral health providers will permit those clients to be seen in a non-emergent behavioral healthcare or primary care setting. These early adopters can serve as a blueprint for other ERs hoping to improve quality and efficiency of care."


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