Jefferson County residents who need inpatient mental health help may need to go no further than Jefferson Healthcare hospital thanks to a long-shot $1.509 million grant the system received from the …
Jefferson County residents who need inpatient mental health help may need to go no further than Jefferson Healthcare hospital thanks to a long-shot $1.509 million grant the system received from the state Department of Commerce.
With the funding, the public hospital district could build a seven-bed inpatient psychiatric unit within the hospital.
But that won't happen overnight.
“As I shared with the board, this is a two-part project. The first is securing the grant,” said Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn. “The second part is finalizing a plan so we can assure the board and community of our ability to staff and operate a high-quality, sustainable unit."
Glenn expects to be able to answer a lot of related questions in the first part of 2016.
Once Jefferson Healthcare accepts the grant, which has not yet happened, “We have 24 months to open the unit,” Glenn said. He also said it is likely the system would need more money than just the grant money to maintain a program.
Projects like the one Jefferson Healthcare is proposing must maintain the beds or facility for the intended use for at least 10 years.
Because there is currently no inpatient facility within Jefferson County, people who need short-term inpatient care can end up as close as Kitsap County or Seattle or as far away as Yakima, mental health officials have said. The distance means they are separated from friends and family support.
The proposed new unit would not be located in the new Emergency Services and Specialty Building currently under construction, Glenn said; it would be within the existing hospital.
The public hospital district applied for the grant in September as an Oct. 1 deadline was approaching. Glenn said it was a long shot.
“Due to the timing of the grant, we were forced to complete and submit the application before we finalized and vetted all of the details related to operating the unit,” Glenn wrote in response to Leader email questions.
Glenn noted that Jefferson Mental Health Services was a key partner in the application and “will likely play a significant role in the development of the service.”
Adam Marquis, executive director for Jefferson Mental Health Services (JMHS), called the award and partnership “a very exciting breakthrough.”
“As we know, coordination of care regarding adequate psychiatric discharge planning with out-of-county psychiatric hospital to outpatient care at JMHS is not ideal for recovery and resiliency for conjoint patients in Jefferson County,” Marquis said.
“Localized, cross-town inpatient and outpatient care in our shared community is best practice under the triple aim to improve health outcomes, improve the experience of each individual and decrease overall total cost of care for both Jefferson Healthcare and JMHS as rural healthcare organizations,” Marquis said.
In addition to needing a place to go for short-term help, Jefferson County also needs more mental health professionals, officials said.
Jefferson County has been designated federally as a mental health professional shortage area, which was one of the reasons the public health care system was eligible for the grant.
ACCESS TO CARE
Access to mental health and substance abuse care has also been deemed one of four high health priorities for Jefferson County based on a community health assessment. That assessment, completed last year, was done in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Health Department, Port Townsend School District and other entities.
A new Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) has been started to work on actions that would lead to improvements in those areas.
In addition to mental health and substance abuse care, areas targeted for improvement are: immunizations, healthy eating, active living and chronic disease prevention.
In addition to the $1.509 million grant for Jefferson Healthcare, the state Department of Commerce also awarded $2 million to Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Carmel; $2 million to Walla Walla General Hospital in Walla Walla; $10,000 to US WestVest in Marysville; $10,000 to US HealthVest in Olympia; $5,000 to Spokane Springs, LLC in Spokane Valley and $5,000 to Rainier Springs, LLC in Vancouver.
“Patients treated are individuals with a mental disorder who may be gravely disabled or pose a danger to themselves or others, and who refuse or are unable to enter treatment on their own,” a press release from the state stated.