Leading Stories, Articles

July 10th, 2021

VT legislature calls for action to address ED boarding

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In 2020, the state of Vermont was ranked first in the nation for access to mental health care in Mental Health America’s annual state-by-state rankings. Yet, this spring, the state’s legislature was shocked to hear stories of children in mental health crisis languishing for hours, days, and even weeks in emergency departments while awaiting transfer to psychiatric care.

Similar to the situation that has been happening in New Hampshire, albeit at a lesser rate, Vermont has seen an increase in the number of people held in emergency departments over the past decade, hitting a peak in 2017.…

July 5th, 2019

ME legislation seeks community-based mental health task force

By Eileen Weber

Mentally ill patients often end up in emergency rooms, homeless shelters, or even jails instead of getting much needed psychiatric care. Senator Cathy Breen (D- )
Recently proposed legislation to address that problem.

Breen’s bill calls for a community-based task force that would assess mental health needs before a patient ends up in a place without adequate psychiatric care.

Local law enforcement is backing the legislation, hoping it will have an impact on the state’s incarceration rates.

In a Senate press release, Breen, who serves as chair of the egislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, explained that the reason for needing community-based care has to do with the lack of institutional care.…

May 13th, 2019

North Shore Medical Center project underway to increase number of psychiatric beds

By Eileen Weber

North Shore Medical Center received approval from Massachusetts state regulators to increase its number of psychiatric beds.

Plans for what will be called the Epstein Center for Behavioral Health include a total of 120 adult, geriatric, and pediatric beds. The facility is slated to open this fall.

The expansion project had a few glitches after the hospital and its parent company, Partners Healthcare, scaled back the plans in 2016 because of financial losses.

Now back on track, the expansion is an attempt to tackle what is a nationwide issue—having enough psychiatric care available so that patients don’t end up in emergency rooms.…

May 14th, 2018

Mass. increases beds, facilities while other states remain stable

By Phyllis Hanlon

psychiatric inpatient bed numbers new englandThe psychiatric care landscape has shifted in recent years from an inpatient setting to community placement and back to in-hospital treatment. New England Psychologist surveyed the New England states to assess the current inpatient situation.

Kathleen Remillard, public information officer (PIO) at New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services, reported that the state has had no psychiatric unit closures in the past year.

Rather, New Hampshire has gained 20 new transitional housing beds for patients recently released from New Hampshire Hospital or other designated receiving facilities.

Vermont has also added 20 youth psychiatric beds; and four mobile crisis apartments as an alternative to inpatient care for individuals in crisis that have been assessed by a mobile crisis team.…

May 13th, 2018

Vermont searches for solutions to increase bed capacity

By Janine Weisman

psychiatric care facilities adding beds in vermontThe Vermont House of Representatives Committee on Health Care has already come out against funding a temporary 12-bed forensic unit at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Gov. Phil Scott’s proposed fiscal 2019 state budget.

But during the appropriation process in early April, Senate members appeared more receptive toward the facility proposed to alleviate the demand on emergency rooms and psychiatric facilities around the state.

“That’s a showdown between the Senate and the House that we get caught in the middle of,” said Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Melissa Bailey.…

May 11th, 2018

New behavioral units designed to enhance care

By Pamela Berard

St. Mary's Medical Center

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, opened its new pediatric behavioral unit in early 2018 and is on track to open a new adult behavioral unit in 2019, as part of a three-year, $12 million improvement project.

Project funding was partially funded through a capital campaign. Improvements include the relocation and remodeling of the pediatric and adult behavioral units, which will move to the main hospital; as well as renovations and expansion for the building supporting oncology, rheumatology, infusion, and other outpatient services.

The new 13-bed pediatric behavioral unit provides specialized care for children and adolescents.…