New Partnership Supports Mental Health Needs

May 9, 2019 Hospital Staff

Wahiawa General Hospital is partnering with the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) to provide short-term mental health stabilization beds in a hospital setting.

“This is good news for our community since there is a high demand for these types of services,” said WGH Chief Executive Officer Brian Cunningham.  “We are excited to collaborate with the DOH and together, we will leverage resources to meet the growing community need for behavioral health care on a statewide level.”

The project is still in its developmental phase. Once completed, there may be as many as 30 stabilization beds at WGH by early next year. These beds will bridge a vital gap between emergency room care and longer term treatment for individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues to help reduce repetitive emergency department visits and chronic homelessness.

One significant measure of this need is reflected in data from DOH via the Queens Emergency Department which indicates a total of 1,312 unique patients had at least 3 or more visits in the first quarter of this year (Punchbowl and West Oahu), including 270 (20%) who were identified as experiencing homelessness.

The stabilization beds will also provide a vital resource for community providers to place individuals who are chronically homeless and need short-term medical and psychiatric care as a stepping stone to longer term care in the community. This will help to reduce the more than 300 individuals on Oahu who were treated at an emergency room for mental health reasons but were not admitted for acute psychiatric hospitalization.