News | September 24, 2007

New Report Aims to Help Hospitals Improve Behavioral Health Services

September 25, 2007 - As funding for behavioral health services remains inadequate, the American Hospital Association (AHA) has released a report to assist hospitals facing a growing demand for such services.
The report, developed by the 18-member AHA Behavioral Health Task Force, offers recommendations to improve behavioral health services.
“Patients coming into the hospital with physical illness such as heart failure and cancer may also face behavioral health disorders,” said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO. “While we do a good job of treating the physical illness, oftentimes we don’t adequately address the behavioral health issues that may go hand-in-hand with these conditions.”
The recommendations developed by the Task Force are presented around six themes that address strategies hospitals can undertake in their own organization and community. The themes include a community needs assessment, behavioral health planning, community collaboration, adequate financing, employer practices, and advocacy. Each theme includes several recommendations hospitals can consider when determining the appropriate role for behavioral health services in their communities. Following most recommendations is a brief case example.

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