Mercyhealth petitions to dismantle mental illness ward

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 10:15 AM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Mercyhealth could be closing another unit at one of its local hospitals but first it needs the green light from the state health facilities and services review board.

Mercyhealth is asking to appear in front of the board to get approval to close its 20 bed Acute Mental Illness Unit at its Rockton Avenue Campus. According to the state’s website, there has to be other services available for in patient care if the unit were to close.

The hospital is seeking a public hearing where the community can be involved and offer public support.

Mercyhealth President and CEO Javon Bea says, “Mercyhealth’s inpatient behavioral health census continues to average at 2-3 patients per day. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the number of beds earlier in the year as we converted some of the beds on this unit to medical/surgical. With our low census we have not been able to retain psychiatric physician coverage. However we are continuing our outpatient behavioral health care services. 

Mercyhealth filed a Certificate of Exemption application with the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board(IHFSRB) to discontinue inpatient acute mental illness services at the Javon Bea Hospital–Rockton Campus in the third quarter of 2020 due to the ongoing low patient census trend which has not allowed us to keep the service and has not allowed us to retain a psychiatric physician provider. There has also been an increased shift to outpatient mental health programming and services. The Acute Mental Illness (AMI) inpatient beds do not meet current IHFSRB target utilization standards to justify the unit. Mercyhealth fully intends to maintain its outpatient behavioral health program at Mercyhealth Glenwood in Rockford.”

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