COVID-19 and Behavioral Health: Health Care’s Response

April 30, 2020

Howard Gershon, LFACHE

“In ordinary times, we are a nation of people with high levels of anxiety,” says Howard Gershon, a founding principal of New Heights Group and a member of the SHCM Editorial Advisory Board.

But “[i]n times of a pandemic such as we are experiencing now with the ongoing fear of the deadly coronavirus, anxiety and related behavioral health issues have a significantly greater impact.”

Here’s an excerpt from Gershon’s new article:

With no known cure for the virus, and restrictions on visitation, patients and families are experiencing a “wait and see” phenomenon that surely exacerbates anxiety levels. In the best of times, many of our hospitals and health systems struggle to provide appropriate levels of behavioral health treatment and support to medical/surgical patients.

For organizations that offer primary behavioral health services, difficult issues they are accustomed to dealing with have now become even more complex. While most inpatient admissions will have been screened as they come through an emergency department, screening for the virus complicates the admission process of direct-admit patients who are more common in specialty and residential facilities.

Some treatment centers are telling individuals with flu-like symptoms to not come in, but to call their state health department to receive instructions for testing. Other programs may be testing but then isolating patients until test results are returned.

What happens if a patient presents for admission but tests positive?

Read the rest of Gershon’s article now: Behavioral Health and the Coronavirus: How Hospitals & Health Systems Are Responding

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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