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AHA’s suggestions on mental-health needs

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The American Hospital Association’s Task Force on Behavioral Health offers hospital leaders recommendations on strategies  to address mental-health needs in their communities:


• Ensure that community health assessments include specific attention to behavioral illness.

• Review and evaluate the organization’s behavioral plan in light of identified community needs, patient needs and available community resources.

• Use a comprehensive financial and operational assessment to evaluate the benefits and value of behavioral health services to all operational components of the hospital.

• Encourage and participate in developing a community-wide plan for people with behavioral health disorders and in coordinating community agencies that address behavioral health needs.

• Work with community agencies and with state and local governments to ensure that patients are treated in the most appropriate setting so that the hospital’s backstop role is appropriately limited.

• Create a formal plan that clearly defines the hospital’s role and its established relationships for behavioral health with other providers, practitioners, and government and community agencies.

• Clearly communicate to public and private payers the costs required to care for behavioral health patients and the cost to society of not treating those patients.

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