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Locally, long-term care a challenge

Wilson

While locally, there seems to be no shortage in providing short-term mental health services, there is a challenge in meeting the needs of those requiring longer-term care, said Paul Wilson, CEO of Park Center.

“After the state’s former administration took away the funding of community services and wraparound treatment, we have seen longer waits for state hospitals,” Wilson said.

Wraparound treatment is an intensive, individualized care management process for those with serious mental health problems.

Indiana has six state mental health facilities: Evansville Psychiatric Children’s Center, Larue Carter Hospital in Indianapolis, and state hospitals in Evansville, Logansport, Madison and Richmond.

People in this area who need treatment usually are admitted to Richmond State Hospital, which is the closest, Wilson said. But there is often a waiting list for Richmond and other state hospitals, he said.

Parkview Behavioral Health has an entire wing dedicated to treating mental illness at its Randallia campus, said Eric Clabaugh, Parkview spokesman.

It usually has capacity for those seeking acute care, he said.

So does Lutheran Behavioral Health, according to hospital officials.

But Eric Looper, CEO of St. Joseph Hospital, agreed with Wilson that some inpatients may be waiting for beds in long-term facilities.

“Ours is not the appropriate facility if a patient needs long-term care,” he said. “We do have patients that stay while they are waiting for a bed to open up in a state hospital.”

Last year, St. Joseph expanded its adult behavioral health facility from nine to 14 beds.

It had to expand because it was usually at capacity and had to transfer incoming patients to other area facilities, Looper said.

Even with the expansion, the beds are often full, he said.

The hospital has the capacity to add five more beds, and that may happen sooner than anticipated.

“Behavioral health services are a growing demand in the country and in our community,” Looper said.

“There’s also a national shortage of psychiatric providers, and we are no different,” he said. “We are woefully underserved.”

vsade@jg.net

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