Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Maine Rural Health Research Center, 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.

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.

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).

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.

Suggested Citation:  Hartley, D., Loux, S., Gale, J., Lambert, D., & Yousefian, A. (2010). Characteristics of inpatient psychiatric units in small rural hospitals. Psychiatric Services, 61(6), 620-623.

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

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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