Alex­ian Broth­ers seeks to boost be­hav­ioral health ca­pac­ity

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Rachel Lan­den

Alex­ian Broth­ers Health Sys­tem, Ar­ling­ton Heights, Ill., an­nounced plans to in­te­grate its acute-care and be­hav­ioral-health ser­vices in an ef­fort to deal with in­creased de­mand for men­tal health treat­ment and a grow­ing short­age of in­pa­tient psy­chi­atric beds.

A di­vi­sion of Ro­man Catholic health­care sys­tem As­cen­sion Health, Alex­ian plans to first con­vert what is now a med­i­cal/sur­gi­cal unit at Alex­ian Broth­ers Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Elk Grove Vil­lage, Ill., into a 25-bed adult psy­chi­atric unit, set to open in June. The open­ing is de­pen­dent on Illi­nois Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board ap­proval for the $1.2 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion.

“Hav­ing a psy­chi­atric unit within the con­fines of the Alex­ian Broth­ers Med­i­cal Cen­ter would ex­pe­dite men­tal health ser­vices for pa­tients,” said Brian Gross, se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tor at nearby skilled-nurs­ing fa­cil­ity Manor Care Health Ser­vices-Elk Grove Vil­lage, in a let­ter of sup­port to the re­view board. “Fre­quently, pa­tients have had to wait in the emer­gency room or on a med­i­cal unit un­til a bed be­comes avail­able.”

Alex­ian also would con­vert an area in one of its acute-care fa­cil­i­ties into a gero-psy­chi­atric in­pa­tient unit to treat psy­chi­atric pa­tients with med­i­cal co­mor­bidi­ties in one lo­ca­tion, as well as re­lieve some of the bur­den on Alex­ian Broth­ers Be­hav­ioral Health Hospi­tal.

That hospi­tal, in Hoff­man Es­tates, Ill., is the sev­enth-largest be­hav­ioral health provider na­tion­ally, based on net pa­tient rev­enue in 2012. But like other psy­chi­atric fa­cil­i­ties, it is strug­gling to meet de­mand as state-op­er­ated psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals close and com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals elim­i­nate psy­chi­atric ser­vices. The 141bed fa­cil­ity, which is typ­i­cally at or near ca­pac­ity, redi­rects 1,200 pa­tients each year away from its lo­ca­tion to other men­tal health fa­cil­i­ties with avail­able space.

Illi­nois has de­creased its state-op­er­ated in­pa­tient be­hav­ioral health ca­pac­ity from more than 35,000 beds in the 1960s to about 1,400 in 2009, ac­cord­ing to the Illi­nois Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion. Mean­while, in 2009, Illi­nois hospi­tal emer­gency de­part­ments treated more than 750,000 pa­tients with a be­hav­ioral health con­di­tion.

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