Mercy Medical Center – Centerville received the 2014 Innovation in Patient Care Award from the Iowa Organization of Nurse Leaders at their recent meeting.
The entry, Crisis Mental Health — Bridging the Gap in a Rural Community was chosen from 18 entries. The project described the hospital’s work with local partners in the Appanoose County Mental Health Coalition to address the counties number one health problem of access to crisis mental health services.
The initiative is reducing inpatient mental health admissions from Appanoose County by coordinating efforts to intervene with existing local resources. Mercy ER physicians and staff have operationalized a process that allows mental health pre-screening which can be utilized in the emergency room, in the county jail or through the court system as an alternative to an inpatient committal. Several licensed therapists from various agencies are working cooperatively to rotate call 24/7 and reserve time in their schedule for crisis outpatient therapy.
The coalition’s overall goal is to prove that investment in intervention is more effective, less costly and less restrictive for people whose mental health crises can be resolved through support and care in their local community rather than intensive medical intervention. Besides Mercy, the other coalition members include: Appanoose County, Appanoose County Sheriff’s Office, Centerville Community Betterment, Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa, 8th District Court, Centerville Police Department, River Hills Community Health Center and the local chapter of National Alliance on Mental Health Illness.