EMSRB 2007 Behavioral Health Report: 2013 Update Brief
Responding Better to Mental and Behavioral Health Emergencies
Background and Goals of EMSRB 2007 Behavioral Health Report
Minnesota’s ambulance providers are searching for ways to meet the increased demand for transporting patients with behavioral and psychiatric disorders. The number of mental and behavioral health transports has been growing in recent years, with patients and their families traveling greater distances from their home communities due to a lack of available psychiatric hospital beds. According to ambulance run data collected through the Minnesota State Ambulance Reporting (MNSTAR) system, the total number of behavioral disorder transports increased 23 percent from 2005 to 2006, and behavioral health transports took one and a half times longer than other non-psychiatric interfacility transports. In order to address these concerns, the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board (EMSRB) created the EMS Behavioral Health Work Group and published the EMSRB 2007 Behavioral Health Report to examine these issues and recommend solutions.
1. Utilize the web-based psychiatric bed tracking tool developed by the Minnesota Hospital Association and measure the reliability of the tracking tool
2. Promote training in the care of behavioral health patients for law enforcement and ambulance personnel
3. Create a single mental health crisis phone number for the metro area, and consider expanding into the creation of a single statewide number
4. Utilize intermediate or alternative transportation services, such as Special Transportation Service providers
5. Promote alternative response approaches, such as Crisis Response Teams
6. Increase the number of hospital or community based beds, including residential crisis and treatment options for behavioral health patients.
7. Support changes at the state, federal, and private payer level in billing and reimbursement
8. Amend state law to require counties to pay for the cost of ambulance transport for mentally ill, chemically dependent persons temporarily confined for observation, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and care if the person does not have health insurance coverage (MN Statute 253B.045)
In 2007, many of the programs outlined in the original EMSRB report were newly implemented, and lacked the benefit of time for subsequent evaluation. The Community Behavioral Health Hospitals (CBHHs) were in juvenile stages of operation, the Minnesota Hospital Association and Department of Human Services online psychiatric bed tracking system was only a pilot project, and the use of alternative approaches to transporting behavioral health patients, such as Crisis Response Teams, had not been widely used across the state. There have not yet been any published reports analyzing mental or behavioral ambulance runs since the original EMSRB 2007 Behavioral Health Report. Recent MNSTAR data on mental and behavioral health patients...