One of the behavioral health challenges that we’ve been facing in the valley over the last several years has been the lack of places that are available for urgent psychiatric care.  Oftentimes persons in an acute psychiatric crisis end up being treated in an emergency department where they might not have the expertise to provide optimal treatment.  If there isn’t enough capacity to transfer the person from the emergency department to a psychiatric care center- then the folks sometimes end up staying in the ED- which can aggravate the emergency department capacity problems.

There’s some good news on the horizon.   Banner is planning to open an 24/7 Banner Behavioral Health Hospital Urgent Care Psychiatric Center on August 30 that will have room for 23 patients, including an observation area.  Patients that arrive at a hospital Emergency department that are in a psychiatric crisis could be transferred to either the Banner Psychiatric Center or the Urgent Psychiatric Center, based on location and level of psychiatric crisis. The goal is to make the transfer from the hospital within an hour, either by ambulance or other secure transportation, and for the patient to be seen by a psychiatrist shortly after arrival.  Once on-line, this capacity will be a big help and will supplement the care that can be provided through the urgent care facility run by St Luke’s Behavioral Health Center.