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St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital Lowers Transfer Rates

St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital recognized that emergency department (ED) psychiatric patients need alternatives to transfer. The transferring process leads to long waiting time, escalation of patients’ behavioral health issues, and added costs. Often, patients are not connected to local services and return to the ED with the same issues, creating a vicious cycle.

Early in 2013, discussions between ED leadership, local government, and a behavioral health provider began. In October 2013, an established Mobile Mental Health (MMH) program began responding to the ED for patients with a behavioral health issue. As a result, connection to services increased, while recidivism and transfers decreased. The drop in transfers lowered the frequency of medical clearance tests, reducing the overall cost of care.

From October 2013 through December 2016, the MMH program successfully discharged to home and local services 66% of the 695 mental health ED patients (58% of total such visits). The program confirmed a better connection to outpatient behavioral health by reducing overall recidivism to 4%.

For more information, contact Daniel Maughan, R.N., B.S.N., M.B.A., M.S.N., F.N.P-c., at dmaughan@slchospital.org.