New program aims to improve transition from psych bed to community

·2 min read

Jul. 8—CONCORD — A new state-run support program should reduce the number of patients who need readmission to a psychiatric hospital setting, according to state officials.

Critical Time Intervention (CTI) will be a no-cost, intensive care plan designed to help better prepare scheduled for discharge from an in-patient psychiatric bed.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette said all 10 community mental health centers have agreed to coordinate this care.

Currently, the program has been offered on a trial basis at four mental health centers in Manchester, Nashua, the Claremont-Hanover and Dover-Rochester areas.

"Providing concrete, one-on-one support for people as they transition from hospital to home offers them a sense of stability and independence, and could potentially prevent a readmission to the inpatient setting," Shibinette said.

The program is one of the goals set out in the state's 10-year Mental Health Plan, she added.

State officials said leaders of the Designated Receiving Facilities (DRF) such as New Hampshire Hospital have also agreed to coordinate this care with the mental health centers.

ER waiting list back up

Shibinette became HHS commissioner after having served as the CEO of New Hampshire Hospital.

While in that position, Shibinette carried out changes that all but eliminated a waiting list of adults and children with mental health challenges waiting in hospital emergency rooms for an in-patient bed.

The pandemic led to a dramatic increase of demand for mental health services and the resulting work force shortage in health care led to even more limited capacity in the system.

As a result, the state's waiting list has grown to 31 adults as of last week.

The state hospital had to close two wings with 48 beds due to staffing shortages, officials said.

The agency is considering proposed rule changes to the process of holding someone against their will for emergency mental health treatment.

Last week, a variety of groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the New Hampshire Hospital Association raised concerns about those rules.

They warned the proposed changes could allow the state to hold these adults without a court hearing longer than is currently allowed.

klandrigan@unionleader.com