Study on Emergency Departments and Behavioral Health Clears First Hurdle; PA Hospital Community Encouraged to Show Support
May 17, 2019
This week, the House Health Committee considered a resolution to study the impact of the commonwealth’s mental and behavioral health treatment capacity. House Resolution 268, sponsored by Representative Jim Struzzi (R-Indiana), aims to capture the true, systematic barriers to timely placement and access to appropriate behavioral health services. It was voted out of committee unanimously.
The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) supports the resolution due to the impact behavioral health holds have on emergency departments (ED) across the commonwealth and encourages members of Pennsylvania’s hospital community to sign a petition urging lawmakers to support the resolution.
A shortage in mental health professionals and lack of access to timely treatment services positions EDs as a de facto safety net for psychiatric treatment. And while many EDs are improving their ability to effectively assess and triage patients in need of psychiatric care, hospitals often face long delays in transferring patients to appropriate inpatient and outpatient treatment settings.
Delayed transfer of psychiatric patients impacts both patients and delivery system outcomes—increasing psychological stress on patients, delaying mental health treatment that could mitigate the need for a mental health inpatient stay, consuming scarce ED resources, worsening ED crowding and delaying treatment for other ED patients.
The resolution is now before the full House for consideration.
For more information please contact Stephanie Watkins, vice president for state legislative advocacy or Jennifer Jordan, vice president for regulatory advocacy.