Yuba-Sutter officials recognized for mental health crisis work

January 8, 2018

Sutter and Yuba County officials were presented with an innovation award last week for having mental health crisis workers embedded in the Rideout emergency room.

The California State Association of Counties presented the Challenge Award – which recognizes innovation and creativity by county governments to provide programs and services to residents -- according to the CSAC website.

Since 2016, Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health crisis workers have worked in the Rideout emergency room to address growing mental health crisis needs.

The program works to get mental health patients prompt care and a quick referral to, and help from, all available community resources. Organizers say it’s minimized length of stay and time to discharge and improved overall psychiatric care, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.

In an interview last year with Rideout’s director of Emergency Services, Theresa Hyer, she said that of all of the patients who have received behavioral health assessments, 52 percent were treated and sent out into the community safely with a plan.

In most emergency rooms, behavioral health patients wait for coveted inpatient psychiatric beds now available at Rideout.

“We were honored to be recognized by CSAC for our work in Rideout’s Emergency Department with our behavioral health team,” Hyer said in an email Thursday. “The most exciting part of our collaborative is the psychiatric treatment we are able to offer to the behavioral health patient while they are in our emergency department. We are hoping other counties and hospitals follow our example freeing up some of the coveted inpatient psychiatric beds in our state.”

Citing a 75 percent increase in patients in the emergency department placed on psychiatric holds, Rideout was facing many of the issues other hospitals in the nation do: increasing numbers of mentally ill patients, a shortage of providers, concerns over workplace violence and rising costs.

The partnership between Rideout, Behavioral Health and each county has already been the subject of an Innovation Award from the California Hospital Association, was the subject of a presentation to the Emergency Nurses Association in St. Louis, and will be the subject of a presentation to the American Association of Psychiatrists in May, according to the press release. CSAC staff are also preparing a video about the program which will be shared throughout the state.