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Regional News/Midwest: Alexian Brothers seeks to boost behavioral health capacity, and other news


By Rachel Landen
Posted: March 15, 2014 - 12:01 am ET
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Alexian Brothers Health System, Arlington Heights, Ill., announced plans to integrate its acute-care and behavioral-health services in an effort to deal with increased demand for mental health treatment and a growing shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds.

A division of Roman Catholic healthcare system Ascension Health, Alexian plans to first convert what is now a medical/surgical unit at Alexian Brothers Medical Center, Elk Grove Village, Ill., into a 25-bed adult psychiatric unit, set to open in June. The opening is dependent on Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board approval for the $1.2 million renovation.

“Having a psychiatric unit within the confines of the Alexian Brothers Medical Center would expedite mental health services for patients,” said Brian Gross, senior administrator at nearby skilled-nursing facility Manor Care Health Services-Elk Grove Village, in a letter of support to the review board. “Frequently, patients have had to wait in the emergency room or on a medical unit until a bed becomes available.”

Alexian also would convert an area in one of its acute-care facilities into a gero-psychiatric inpatient unit to treat psychiatric patients with medical co-morbidities in one location, as well as relieve some of the burden on Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital.

That hospital, in Hoffman Estates, Ill., is the seventh-largest behavioral health provider nationally, based on net patient revenue in 2012. But like other psychiatric facilities, it is struggling to meet demand as state-operated psychiatric hospitals close and community hospitals eliminate psychiatric services. The 141-bed facility, which is typically at or near capacity, redirects 1,200 patients each year away from its location to other mental health facilities with available space.

Illinois has decreased its state-operated inpatient behavioral health capacity from more than 35,000 beds in the 1960s to about 1,400 in 2009, according to the Illinois Hospital Association. Meanwhile, in 2009, Illinois hospital emergency departments treated more than 750,000 patients with a behavioral health condition.

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Michigan's Oakwood Healthcare rebranding four hospitals

Oakwood Healthcare, a not-for-profit system in southeastern Michigan, is renaming four of its acute-care hospitals as part of a rebranding campaign.

Effective this month, Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center becomes Oakwood Hospital-Dearborn, and Oakwood Heritage Hospital becomes Oakwood Hospital-Taylor. Later this year, Oakwood Annapolis Hospital is expected to be renamed Oakwood Hospital-Wayne, and Oakwood Southshore Medical Center will be called Oakwood Hospital-Southshore.

The initiative is part of a strategy that began with a 2012 advertising campaign to create consistency across the Oakwood brand. It's also an opportunity to increase Oakwood's visibility and recognition as well as promote the “One Oakwood” concept that began with the implementation of its OakCare electronic health-record system, according to a news release.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden


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