Strengthening the link between physical and behavioral health services using innovative strategies and collaboration
Healthcare institutions of all sizes and affiliations, from academic medical centers to small community hospitals, are experiencing a significant rise in demand for behavioral health services, and are looking for new care delivery models and population health initiatives to help them better integrate physical and mental health care in treating the whole person. Integration of behavioral health and physical health care services can decrease unnecessary emergency department visits, reduce unnecessary inpatient admissions, and enhance compliance with treatment leading to better clinical outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.
As the stigma of mental illness continues to decrease, more people are seeking and receiving treatment. Because the demand for behavioral health services is likely to continue to exceed capacity, improving integration of care will be vital to meeting the growing need for services.
Universal Health Services (UHS), with its clinical resources and geographic reach, is well positioned to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with other healthcare systems to provide high quality, cost-effective behavioral healthcare that is clinically integrated, outcomes driven and delivers measurable value to patients and the healthcare system as a whole.
UHS has the size, scope, quality treatment reputation, financial strength and economic stability to expand its behavioral health integration initiatives throughout the country. With almost four decades in the industry, UHS is an exceptional candidate for a long-term partnership.
The UHS Behavioral Health Division is committed to successful long-term partnerships that improve access to behavioral health services in local communities and improve outcomes for patients and their families. The Division has a number of successful integration partnerships around the country that include working with medical systems and hospitals in a variety of ways, including:
- Joint Venture Behavioral Hospital: Fundamental changes in the hospital market have paved the way for innovation, including new opportunities for organizations to partner to address these challenges. Healthcare providers across the country, including non-profit systems and hospitals, are finding that they are unable to meet the significant demand for behavioral health services. Systems might be seeking to repurpose psychiatric beds for other specialties or are having difficulties operating their existing psychiatric services, and lack the capital to replace or update existing facilities. Many find it difficult to access appropriate treatment options for behavioral health patients who present to their emergency departments. A joint venture behavioral health hospital with an industry leader such as UHS can support an organization in meeting the behavioral health needs of its community. Each health system’s needs and preferences are unique and UHS Behavioral Health Integration Solutions tailors each partnership aligning the system’s priorities, mission and values while meeting all appropriate regulatory requirements. A joint venture behavioral health hospital, whether it is located on the partner hospital campus or a mutually agreed upon off-site location, is an opportunity for a health system to be an active partner in enhancing operations, increasing access to care, and promoting patient satisfaction.
- Inpatient Psychiatric Services on an Acute Care Hospital Campus: A rapidly changing healthcare environment requires systems to develop creative solutions to meet the needs of their communities. Working with UHS Behavioral Health Integration Solutions to open a freestanding psychiatric hospital, a hospital within a hospital or a psychiatric satellite unit on an acute care hospital campus, either wholly owned or operated by a UHS entity or through a joint venture, can assist in providing critically needed specialized health services that improve access to care while reducing costs.
- The Acquisition of an Acute Care Hospital’s Behavioral Health Operations: With over 38 years of experience in both acute care and behavioral health, UHS is uniquely positioned to work with organizations looking to divest their behavioral health operations. A system wishing to exit behavioral health to focus on other aspects of its operations can experience a seamless transition with minimal disruption to patient care. UHS will continue to work with the health system or hospital to support its acute care operations, including providing ongoing assistance to emergency departments, to ensure the behavioral health needs of its patients are being met. When possible, existing staff will be integrated into the behavioral health team and programs and services will be expanded to meet community needs.
- Management of Psychiatric Services in Existing Emergency Departments: Designed to provide high quality emergency care and services specifically for individuals experiencing psychiatric and/or substance abuse crises, behavioral health emergency care can include stabilization of acute symptoms, increasing safety, and expediting treatment to the most appropriate level of care. With our experience and reputation for clinical quality and excellence, we are uniquely positioned to provide the expertise needed to support and manage psychiatric services in acute care emergency departments with the goal of decreasing overutilization of services resulting in high patient volumes, long wait times, delays in diagnosis and treatment, overburdened staff, and poor quality care.
- Mobile Assessments: Widely considered to be an integral part of an effective mental health services system, mobile assessments can help to reduce hospitalizations and increase patient compliance with treatment by referring individuals to the level of care that is most appropriate for their needs. Experienced mental health professionals provide on-site assessments, either in person or through the use of telemedicine, in both emergency departments and on medical/surgical floors to assist in linking each individual with a mental health professional or facility to ensure their safety and continued well-being.
- Telemedicine: Allowing patients and physicians to interact via modern technology and telecommunications, telemedicine can be a reliable and cost-effective method to assess and treat patients. Telepsychiatry is the application of telemedicine to the specialty field of psychiatry and allows health systems greater freedom to expand their capacity and capabilities. Telemedicine helps a facility respond in real time to a patient’s needs thus reducing emergency department boarding and inappropriate admissions while improving safety and helping patients access the appropriate level of care quickly. UHS currently has more than 100 facilities offering varying levels of telemedicine in a variety of settings including emergency departments, outpatient clinics, and military bases.
- Managed Units: Behavioral health is an important part of a health system’s continuum of care but many organizations do not have a clinical framework to effectively support psychiatric services. Whether an organization is looking to establish an inpatient psychiatric unit or to revitalize an existing program, UHS has the specialized management, clinical expertise and resources to provide the structure to ensure the program is a clinical and financial success. From program development and implementation to regulatory compliance support, we are committed to working with general healthcare systems to create managed units that meet the needs of the hospital and the community.
UHS Behavioral Health Integration Solutions works with health systems and hospitals focusing on lowering readmissions, cutting unnecessary emergency department use, and improving outcomes and patient satisfaction. Working together with our partners, UHS is helping to solve difficult and complex systemic mental health issues. Our innovative partnerships are making a difference and creating positive outcomes for the communities we serve.
For more information about UHS Behavioral Health Integration Solutions, please contact us via email.