Emergency Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient:
Pilot Projects in Reducing ED Diversion

With 6 percent of all emergency room visits related to mental health issues and wait times
for these patients ranging from eight to 24 hours, a dedicated psychiatric ER would appear
to be the ideal solution. But as two emergency department veterans relate in Emergency
Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient: Pilot Projects in Reducing ED Diversion
,
backup plans are sometimes necessary to manage the flow of behavioral health patients in
the emergency room.

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Pre-publication discount on Emergency Room Triage of 
the Mental Health Patient: Pilot Projects in Reducing ED Diversion

In Emergency Room Triage of the Mental Health Patient:
Pilot Projects in Reducing ED Diversion
, Julie Szempruch,
associate vice president and chief nursing officer for the Midtown
Mental Health Center, part of Wishard Health Services in Indiana,
describes how Midtown's dedicated seven-bed psychiatric ER
initially was sufficient to handle patients presenting with mental
health issues. But when regional developments caused patient
demand to exceed the unit's capacity, further triage strategies
were required.

Szempruch explains how the community mental health
center's system-wide daily conference call helps to balance
work and patient flow across 23 programs, encourages
creative problem-solving and dramatically reduces staff time spent on diversion of
psychiatric ER patients to other facilities from more than a week each month to just
over a day.

Like Midtown, East Jefferson General Hospital in Louisiana had plans for a separate
psychiatric ED. But when the ROI analysis for the non-profit community hospital's
separate facility didn't hold up, the multidisciplinary team at the state's first magnet
hospital went back to the drawing board. Plan B was the placement of a psychiatric
nurse in Jefferson's emergency department. Joe Eppling, assistant vice president
of post acute and behavioral health services at East Jefferson, describes the objectives
of the pilot program, its impact on hospital admits, discharges and resource allocation,
and its effect on ED staff satisfaction and morale.

East Jefferson was one of only three facilities that remained open during and after Hurricane
Katrina, and Eppling assesses the impact of the post-Katrina environment on inpatient bed
availability, ER patient volumes and the extent of the mental health crisis among the region's
uninsured population.

In addition, these two emergency room veterans answer a host of questions on the topic and
provide additional details on:

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Please reference this customer code when ordering: ERT1204H

Warm Regards,

Melanie Matthews
Executive Vice President
The Healthcare Intelligence Network
1913 Atlantic Avenue
Suite 201
Manasquan, NJ 08736
888-446-3530
http://www.hin.com


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