Strong to Open Additional Adolescent Psychiatry Beds by July 1

Emergency Plan Designed to Ease Backup for Inpatient Beds

June 25, 2001

The New York State Office of Mental Health has approved plans for Strong Memorial Hospital to temporarily convert 10 inpatient psychiatry beds, which are currently licensed for occupancy by adult patients, to adolescent beds. The state approved Strong's emergency plan while it considers proposals for a permanent reassignment of 12 inpatient adolescent psychiatry beds from The Genesee Hospital. The Hospital continues to negotiate a reimbursement rate with the state for these services.

"Strong made it a priority to find an interim solution because the demand has been so acute," said Eric Caine, M.D., chair of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "We have had children and adolescents who were in need of inpatient psychiatry services who were sent out of the area for care. In our minds, this was unacceptable." By temporarily converting 10 beds for adolescent use, Strong will have the ability to admit up to 25 children and adolescents to its inpatient psychiatry services.

Caine also pointed out that while the demand for adolescent mental health care tends to wane in the summer, it is critical to have services in place before September when demand rises.

Strong is able to make the accommodations by shifting patients to other resources within Strong Health and the community and by reducing length of stay wherever medically feasible. "We will be able to transfer some psychiatric Alternate Level of Care (ALC) patients to facilities like the Highlands at Brighton, a Strong Health nursing home," Caine said.

Strong Behavioral Health, the mental health arm of Strong Health, also has submitted an application for permanent certification of 12 new child and adolescent psychiatry beds, including the 10 emergency beds just approved. Should the state choose Strong's proposal, the hospital will operate 66 adult beds and expand the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry inpatient capacity to a total capacity of 27. The state is expected to make a decision within the next four months.

The proposal for the new unit builds upon Strong's abiding commitment to the community's child and adolescent psychiatry needs, Caine said. Strong Behavioral Heath opened its 15-bed child and adolescent inpatient service in 1993, and also developed New York State's first Child and Adolescent Partial Hospital program in 1998. The latter provides services for seriously ill youngsters while they continue to live at home or in the community. Together with the Rochester City School District, Strong operates two collaborative school programs on Hospital premises, and it provides an array of supportive activities, including recently developed chemical dependency counseling for its adolescent patients, as well as gym and playground facilities.

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