Cape Cod Healthcare’s Centers for Behavioral Health Celebrate 25 Years
In November of 1988, the inpatient psychiatric unit at Cape Cod Hospital opened for the first time so patients who needed hospital-level care could stay closer to home and their families. On the occasion of the unit’s 25th anniversary, Cape Cod Healthcare Centers for Behavioral Health would like to publicly thank all of the physicians, nurses and employees who have been and continue to be so dedicated to the psychiatric needs of the residents of Cape Cod and the Islands.
On the occasion of this silver anniversary, Cape Cod Healthcare is introducing Behavioral Health Service’s new name, “Cape Cod Healthcare Centers for Behavioral Health (CBH).” Over the last 25 years, our mental health leaders and providers have developed a diverse, high-quality set of programs and services that offer patients state-of-the-art, individualized care. The new name reflects the high level to which our services have evolved, and the comprehensive care our behavioral health team provides.
The CBH program provides a continuum of behavioral health care, including an inpatient unit, a partial hospitalization program, and outpatient treatment services at three Cape locations. All have seen tremendous growth in demand over the last 25 years. The inpatient unit has more than 950 discharges each year, and outpatient services have more than 30,000 visits annually.
The CBH have evolved in response to demand, challenges and opportunities. The program is based on a patient-centered model in which physicians, therapists and nurses are trained to listen to the patient’s concerns and symptoms and then build individualized treatment plans in collaboration with the patients themselves. There are more mental health providers in the CCHC program than ever before. The inpatient unit today has 46 staff, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, and mental health workers. With the expansion of the outpatient and partial hospital services, the Centers for Behavioral Health now have 49 mental health providers, including child/adolescent, adult and geriatric psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, therapists, and occupational therapists.
“We are committed to maintaining a strong behavioral health program,” said Michael Lauf, President and CEO of CCHC. “Mental illness is every bit as genuine a health condition as diabetes or heart disease, and Cape residents who suffer from mental health issues deserve to have access to top-quality care.”
Providing enough beds, psychiatric care and services to patients is a challenge on the Cape, across the state and nationwide. Both Cape Cod Healthcare’s inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services are at capacity, and the demand for these services continues to grow. The Cape Cod Hospital Emergency Center sees anywhere from eight to 20 patients every day who require substance abuse treatment, psychiatric treatment, or both. Many wait in the ER for days until an inpatient bed on the Cape or elsewhere in the state opens up.
Mental illness is often a chronic disease and the rates of recurrence are high. A significant number of patients – about 40 percent – who are admitted to inpatient psychiatric programs have had prior mental health treatment. Providing care for these patients can be daunting, both in terms of provider resources and fiscal resources. Recruiting psychiatrists is becoming increasingly difficult, as the number of psychiatrists graduating from medical schools continues to decline.
Government and commercial reimbursements for mental health care are inadequate to cover operating costs or to incentivize further private investments in additional hospital capacity. Cape Cod Healthcare’s CBH lost nearly $1 million from operations in FY12.
Despite the challenges, Cape Cod Healthcare Centers for Behavioral Health remain committed to caring for the mental health needs of the community.
“Cape Cod Healthcare is leading the way to address the behavioral health crisis in our community, and we look forward to better collaboration among providers and agencies to ensure that some of the most vulnerable in our community have access to the care they need,” said Mr. Lauf.
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