CPC says commitment beds are difficult to find
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
It seems Henry County and the state of Iowa have a shortage of mental health services for commitments.
“I have been experiencing difficulty finding commitment beds,” said CPC Sarah Berndt. “Some hospitals won’t even consider it unless they (patients) have had a prescreen at a hospital.”
The issue came about recently when Berndt experienced a problem trying to place a patient, when the patient wasn’t placed; she was told she might have to take responsibility for that patient.
“I don’t want to be the one who has to find the bed anymore. It’s not unusual for the CPC not to do that, it’s actually getting to be protocol,” explained Berndt. “It’s just getting too hard to find a space for mental health patients. I would even go so far as to change my management plan to allow us to look at beds all over the state.”
Darin Stater, attorney for Henry County, said, “we need to be more proactive with our management plan. I also think that our CPC should be the one responsible for finding the beds for those patients. We just need communication with the emergency room as well.”
According to Berndt, another part of the problem is that any services given through the Henry County Health Center, (which would be the prescreen), would not be covered by fund 10.
“They aren’t psychiatric services, so the bill would have to be paid elsewhere. Bed availability is shrinking and there is more and more of this. There just isn’t room,” said Berndt.
The issue that was being brought to light was that funding wasn’t available for patients who needed emergency services.
“If a patient needs mental health services, they can’t fill out the needed paperwork in that state. I think we need to just do it and worry about the funding later. We need to have something in place so these people get the help they need,” said attorney Mike Vance.
Chairman Marc Lindeen of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, agreed there was an issue that needed to be solved.
“I think in order to eliminate some of the problem, if a bed can’t be found/funded, then the person should stay in the hospital until it is found,” said Lindeen.
According to Vance, it was a good idea to keep those patients off the streets.
“We need to protect the person and the community when something like this arises. We need them off the streets and they need somewhere to go,” said Vance.
Overall, more discussion was needed in order to come to a conclusion on what needs to be done to ensure patients are receiving the mental health services they need.
“Responsibility needs to flow and we need to have more discussion,” said Vance. “Something needs to be done.”