Recent Behavioral Health Management Strategies for Hospitals

What is great behavioral health management?

Whether your hospital or health system is evaluating a new behavioral health program, or you feel your team could benefit from a second set of eyes on your existing behavioral health management approach, you want to make it a value-add for the community and for the hospital.

If you can answer the following three questions, you will know what makes a behavioral health program exceptional for you and your patients.

Can behavioral health management improve hospital profitability?

Yes. When there is no behavioral health management strategy in place, it is very likely that a hospital is underutilizing space and increasing stress for the emergency department (ED).

For example, if behavioral health patients in your hospital currently present themselves in your emergency department and your behavioral health strategy is to have your nurses provide the best level of care they can, the following scenario might seem familiar:

  • Patient receives treatment in the ED.
  • Patient is in the ED for a long time, since other hospitals do not have room.
  • Your hospital is using space inefficiently and is billing inefficiently.
  • You are putting your ED nurses and your other ED patients at risk, because not everyone in the ED is trained to deal with behavioral health patients.

With a behavioral health management program in place, your hospital:

  • Protects your staff and the safety of your other patients.
  • Opens up a new revenue stream instead of allocating precious space inefficiently.
  • Decreases out-migration and patient leakage to competing hospitals.
  • Increases the potential for delivering more of the patient journey.

For guidance on starting a new behavioral health program, or for an expert second opinion on your existing clinical program development and clinical program design, you can always try our assessment questions here and here

Is there a behavioral health facility planning checklist my hospital can use?

Yes. At Horizon Health, we like to break down our behavioral health management approach into a simple checklist to get you started on your behavioral health management journey:

Make sure you have executive alignment and buy-in.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) all need to be on the same page when starting or improving your hospital’s behavioral health management strategy.

Whether you are looking to improve access to care, improve the ED workflow, add a new revenue stream for the hospital or prevent patient out-migration to competing hospitals, senior leadership needs to be on board.

Assess your hospital’s use of physical space.

When planning for a mental health facility, you need to ask yourself if there is currently underutilized real estate within the hospital. Proper behavioral health management involves making the most of your current space. 

  • Are there empty rooms that can house your unit? 
  • Is there a wing or section of the hospital that can be repurposed for behavioral health treatment? 

Walk through the halls and take notes or have a behavioral health management consultant review the possibilities with you.

Review your staff’s level of behavioral health training.

To master behavioral health management at your hospital, your staff needs to know how to work with behavioral health patients. 

  • Has your team run mock surveys to determine preparedness for JC, CMS, state, HFAP, or DNV? 
  • Has your training program been updated in the last two years? 
  • Do you have ongoing training for your staff on how to deal with behavioral health patients? 

A very well-trained staff will often have a clinical resource library with hundreds of training materials to choose from.

How can I increase our hospital census?

Hospital executives usually come to us with a hospital census management request when they are considering a behavioral health management provider, either for a new program or an existing one.

If you are anything like the hospital leaders we work with every day, you will want to increase the patient census of your hospital. 

That is where behavioral health management comes in – a strong partner will help you grow your hospital census. Remember, the service area for the behavioral health program will be way larger than the service area for your hospital – Community Education and Marketing is a great way to address this discrepancy and help you grow your hospital census.

Recap: Impact, Care, and Safety are the pillars of effective behavioral health management

A well-run and well-designed behavioral health management program creates real value for your hospital and for your community. 

By using our behavioral health facility planning checklist, you can make sure that your hospital’s senior leadership team is aligned on how the behavioral health strategy increases the hospital census, keeps your fellow coworkers and patients safe, and how the program creates an additional revenue stream for your hospital while providing access to care within your community.

If you or your team found our checklist helpful, you can fill out our program assessment form here, and we will send you personalized recommendations based on your answers.

You’re passionate about your patients, their families and the communities you serve—and we are too. Together, with your dedication to quality care and our unique approach to behavioral health management, we can increase your region’s access to behavioral health care—and increase your profitability.

Horizon Health can help you achieve long-term success in quality patient care through behavioral health management solutions such as:

Let’s Get to Work, Together

Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.