BATON ROUGE—Today, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals outlined details of the department's plan to transition patiens' care as it phases down operations at Southeast Louisiana Hospital (SELH). The department will build partnerships with private sector providers and target improved models of care focused on smaller residential settings as it deemphasizes the role of large state institutions.
"This is the right thing to do to ensure that the people of Louisiana have a sustainable behavioral health care system for the future," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "Over the past few years, DHH has significantly transformed the way behavioral health care services are delivered in our state. However, too many of our resources are invested in large public institutions. This is not the best model of care for our residents or our taxpayers."
Louisianians have already experienced significant benefits as a result of the development of the managed care delivery system for behavioral health care, the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership, which increases access to community-based services and improves quality of care and health outcomes. The following hospitals are currently working with the Statewide Managing Organization for the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership, and represent a pool of providers interested in collaborating with the Department to deliver care in the Greater New Orleans and Northshore areas.
"We are encouraged that many providers in the New Orleans and Northshore areas have expressed interest in working with us during this transition," Greenstein said.
In addition to building additional capacity in the private hospital community, DHH is making arrangements with its hospitals, Central Louisiana State Hospital and the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System, to provide additional bed capacity. The Department has already started the process of transitioning individuals at Southeast with intermediate care needs to other facilities or settings of care, which will be completed by October. Based on census from FY 12, only 135 of the hospital's 774 residents, or approximately 17 percent, were from the Florida Parishes - St. Helena, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Tammany parishes. DHH staff are already working with patients and families to begin transition planning and will help match them with services closer to their community.
Greenstein added, "Our commitment to improving behavioral health care in Louisiana cannot be disputed as funding for behavioral health care has increased by 30 percent over the past two fiscal years. However, mental health advocates and stakeholders have long called on the department to decrease institutional reliance; the budget situation has only accelerated this charge."
The Department and its partners are also working to build capacity among providers to deliver improved models of care. Specifically, the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership has targeted development of residential treatment facilities for adolescents that can provide intensive evidence-based treatment in smaller, more homelike settings. By creating such alternative living settings and using community-based services like Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, evidence has shown that lengths of stay in inpatient settings will shorten and recidivism rates will improve. Over time, this will decrease demand on more acute inpatient services, which will improve the state's capacity to treat the seriously mentally ill.
DHH is working closely with leaders in the behavioral health stakeholder community, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of LA, Mental Health America, The Extra Mile, Chair of the Addictive Disorders Commission and Chair of the Behavioral Health Advisory Council, and received supportive feedback. These stakeholder groups were encouraged by the emphasis on family involvement in the transition process and the efforts DHH identified to maintain safety-net level services for adults and children/youth in its custody.
For more information about the behavioral health care services available through the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership, please visit www.lbhp.dhh.la.gov.