West River Behavioral Health Alliance makes progress for the future of mental health patients

Published: May. 17, 2017 at 9:45 PM CDT
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Members of the West River Behavioral Health Alliance say they are making progress in finding options for the region's behavioral health patients.

The alliance held its second meeting Wednesday May 17. Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom, says they have been able to take more patients to the Human Services Center in Yankton and the Developmental Center in Redfield. This has freed up local capacity at Regional Hospital.

The number of transports to these facilities has increased, from only once a week to as many as four times weekly. In addition, the alliance is working on obtaining a mobile crisis unit.

Paulette Davidson, Regional Health Chief Operating Officer says, the mobile crisis unit, "Would be a team of people that could go to someone if they are in their home, if their in a residential facility, or a long term care facility. It would be mobile and go to those individuals at the time of their crisis, and so those are the types of solutions that we are working on."

Davidson says Regional Hospital is also looking to add eight new "safe rooms", as it expands the emergency department.

"So when we do have individuals who are suffering from some type of behavioral health need, we have places to keep them and deescalate their situation before we determine what their next level of care is", said Davidson.

Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris, says there is still more work to be done and hopes the state legislature will help the alliance with solutions.