CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu and the state Department of Health and Human Services are reporting that over the past two years, the wait time for psychiatric beds in New Hampshire Hospital have decreased.
According to new data, the state reports the total average number of days patients spent in hospital emergency departments decreased by 60 percent in the past two years, from 1,500 total emergency department boarding days spent by individuals in September 2017 to 755 total days spent by individuals in November 2019.
During that same period, the average length of time an individual patient waited for admission to New Hampshire Hospital or a designated receiving facility has decreased from 6.2 days to 3.8 days, a 40 percent decline.
Gov. Chris Sununu. “Rebuilding our mental health system has been a priority since day one, and I am pleased to have data showing that our efforts are paying off. Last term, we brought in a first-class team at New Hampshire Hospital and they are delivering results for the people of New Hampshire. It has taken several years of hard work and bipartisan cooperation to get to the point that we have a significantly declining waitlist at New Hampshire Hospital.
“Because of our efforts, New Hampshire is in a better position to serve some of our most vulnerable citizens who suffer from mental illness. We still have work to do and there are many challenges ahead, but we are moving in the right direction and Granite Staters should be proud of the work that is being done.”
Lori Shibinette, Chief Executive Officer of New Hampshire Hospital, said: “Our team at New Hampshire Hospital has focused on program and policy changes that ensure our patients receive the most effective care in the least restrictive environment. More importantly, our ongoing partnerships with acute care hospitals, Community Mental Health Centers, and other state agencies have allowed us to remove barriers to progress and find comprehensive solutions so that people have better access to the level of care they need.”
New Hampshire Hospital has overseen daily management of the waitlist, made policy changes to expedite referrals to community-based treatment settings, implemented guidelines to prevent most patients from waiting more than 15 days for admission, and facilitated the development of new protocols that expedite the admissions process by instituting an interdisciplinary review of referrals.
The hospital leadership has also focused on reducing staff injuries to improve safety for staff, patients and visitors. Since 2018, staff injuries have decreased by 48 percent, resulting in a safer workplace, less time lost from work, and a savings of more than $350,000 in workers compensation claims.
“We have implemented several projects and programs that foster a shared accountability for safety across all areas of the hospital,” Shibinette said. “Even one injured team member is too many, but we are encouraged by our progress in creating a safety culture for our staff, residents and families. From advanced training from the Crisis Prevention Institute, to a daily safety huddle and enhanced staff engagement, I commend efforts across our entire staff as we continue in our efforts to make workplace safety a priority.”