RWJ Hamilton Expands Behavioral Health Services to Meet Mercer’s Growing Demand
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton announced today it has expanded its behavioral health services through a partnership with a Burlington County provider.
The partnership with Hampton Behavioral Health Center, of Westampton, will provide RWJ Hamilton with a full-time inpatient psychiatrist and an assessment coordinator in the emergency department. Hampton is also providing state-of-the-art telepsychiatry capabilities as a rapid response for patients going through a mental-health or substance-abuse episode during hours when a physician is not on-site.
“We have seen a steady influx of patients in our emergency department with mental health issues, but appropriate services cannot be provided if the supply of mental health providers cannot keep pace with the demand,” says Skip Cimino, president and CEO of RWJ Hamilton. “This partnership will help us meet the rising needs of our community with the care they’ve come to trust.”
Behavioral health care was cited as a major concern of the community in a 2012 Mercer County Community Health Assessment report conducted by the Greater Mercer Public Health Partnership. Focus group members and interviewees reported rising rates of depression and other mental health issues among people in the region, and closely connected those issues to substance abuse, the economic downturn and the region’s achievement culture.
Nationwide, many providers have shifted from practicing in hospitals to practicing in outpatient settings, creating a shortage in inpatient psychiatry.
Even though RWJ Hamilton has a psychiatrist available to evaluate people going through a behavioral health crisis, the partnership with Hampton provides critical staffing to reduce wait times. In addition, Hampton’s telepsychiatry program connects RWJ Hamilton’s patients to the Behavioral Health Center’s 24/7 Access Center.
Craig Hilton, CEO and Managing Director of Hampton Behavioral Health Center, said telepsychiatry “is a unique way to serve patients in the comfort of their local hospital and not have to be burdened by waiting extensive hours at a county psychiatric crisis center. The vast majority of patients presenting in the emergency department can be assessed quickly via the telemedicine equipment, usually within an hour of their arrival to the hospital.”
“We are extremely proud to partner with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton,” Hilton said.
Hampton, a leader in providing behavioral health services in South Jersey since 1986, operates an acute care psychiatric hospital in Westampton. With plans to build an outpatient facility in Hamilton Township, Hampton is positioned to coordinate health care with RWJ Hamilton and the community.