Morristown Medical Center: Working to Improve Mental Healthcare

November 4, 2013

Mental healthcare has and continues to be one of the most important – yet in some circles, least understood – part of medicine.  We’re impressed by the work of our friends at Morristown Medical Center who are taking concrete steps to improve the mental health services they provide.

Here’s a little bit about mental health services and Morristown Medical’s delivery of them.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that one in four adults will experience a mental health disorder in any given year.  MMC’s plans for expansion are based on rising numbers of patients in need of mental health treatment and services.  Low reimbursements are also forcing weaker health systems to reduce and/or eliminate their behavioral health services.

Currently, the Behavioral Health Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at MMC is housed in Franklin 5 East, a general patient wing retrofitted to serve the special needs of psychiatric patients. In 2011, the unit handled 482 cases with a total of 16 beds, all-double rooms and an average of 92% occupancy. The lack of private rooms often causes bottlenecks, as patients are forced to stay in the Emergency Department or on medical floors because a bed isn’t available in a room with a person of the same gender or a disruptive patient must remain alone.

A Way Forward

MMC understands that in psychiatric care, private rooms are a necessity — not a luxury.  With plans to devote an entire wing — approximately 13,000 sq. ft. — to the inpatient psychiatric unit and offer 24 beds, including single rooms with private baths, MMC will be able to give patients and their families the healing environment they deserve.

MMC is working with committed donors to fund necessary upgrades and expand access to mental health treatment and services.

Contact CFNJ for information about helping MMC reach its philanthropic goal and to learn more about the initiative.