The Chicago Tribune recently featured a story about the successful efforts of AMITA Health in Chicago to assess and treat psychiatric patients in the emergency room by piloting an Emergency Psychiatric Intervention Program at four of its emergency departments.

Chris Novak, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for AMITA Health’s behavioral health service line, said the streamlined approach is helping hospitals care for the influx of behavioral health patients in emergency rooms.

“Unfortunately (emergency departments) have become the front door for behavioral healthcare,” he said, adding that those who visit emergency rooms more frequently often do so because they have no other way to access care, and aren’t necessarily in crisis or having a life-threatening emergency.

The tool provides emergency room staff with a way to better assess psychiatric patients, according to Meg Stahulak, DO, emergency department medical director at AMITA Health Saint Joseph Hospital in Lakeview, Illinois. Staff began using it earlier this year there as well as at AMITA Health Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center; AMITA Health Mercy Medical Center in Aurora, Illinois; and AMITA Health St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, and it could expand to other AMITA Health hospitals in the future.

Click here for the story.