Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Characteristics of Inpatient Psychiatric Units in Small Rural Hospitals

Abstract: 

This study investigated inpatient psychiatric units in small rural hospitals to determine their characteristics, the availability of community-based services after discharge, and the impact of the new Medicare payment system on these units. <br></br>METHODS: Unit managers in all rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds that had a psychiatric unit in 2006 (N=74) were surveyed on the telephone. <br></br>RESULTS: On average these units had ten beds and 230 admissions per year. Medicare was the major payer (median of 84%). Typical staffing includes no more than one staff member from each category: psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor or therapist, and nurse practitioner. Common diagnoses reported were depression (74% of units), schizophrenia or other psychoses (42% of units), and dementia or Alzheimer's disease (57% of units). <br></br>CONCLUSIONS: Hospital staff reported little difficulty obtaining postdischarge care, and most staff clinicians provided outpatient services locally. Thus mental health services infrastructure appears better in these communities than in most rural communities, but it may be weakened by recent closures reported by some units, caused, in part, by changes in Medicare reimbursement.

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
June 1, 2010
URL: 
http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/61/6/620

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Hartley Retires as Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center

David Hartley, PhD

David Hartley, PhD, the Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) and a Research Professor of Public Health has announced that he will be retiring from the University of Southern Maine August 31st, 2014. David came to the University in 1994 and has directed the MRHRC since 2004. Andy Coburn, PhD, Research Professor of Public Health, will take over as the new MRHRC Director. Erika Ziller, PhD continues in her role as Deputy Director. David has had a distinguished career in rural health and rural health research, and has made lasting contributions to the field with his work on rural behavioral health, rural disparities and health, and rural active living.

A celebration will be scheduled in early fall to honor David and his many contributions to the field and the University.

 

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