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“More Mayview patients to be discharged”

This article found in the September 26, 2008 issue of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  It can be read in its original format at … http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08270/915192-85.stm 

It discusses discharges from Mayview State Hospital, and the various settings folks are being placed in, in addition to addressing concerns about sentinal events.

More Mayview patients to be discharged
Friday, September 26, 2008

With only a few months, at most, before Mayview State Hospital is expected to close, about 91 patients remain at the facility, with more expected to be discharged this week.

Most are living in unlocked facilities in the community, according to documents distributed last Friday at a public meeting at the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South, Bethel Park.

Officials announced in August 2007 that the South Fayette hospital would be closed by the end of this year, and officials at the meeting said they expect to meet that deadline.

Some 18 to 20 patients will be transferred to Torrance State Hospital in Westmoreland County, but officials expect most to move to a number of housing options in the Pittsburgh area with case management or other support services.

As patients move from Mayview, their needs are assessed through a process known as community support planning.

About 148 patients have been discharged from the hospital since last year’s closure announcement, and 68 others were discharged through the community support planning process before then.

Information distributed at the meeting indicated that 68 percent of those former patients are being served by community treatment teams — mobile groups of psychiatrists, nurses, case managers and other professionals. Nearly all the rest receive some other form of case management.

About 63 percent of patients served by the community treatment teams received at least two visits a week from the team earlier this year. Those served by case managers were seen less often, with only about 15 percent visited at least weekly.

But many people leaving the hospital also have other supervision, noted Mary Fleming, chief executive officer of Allegheny HealthChoices, which has developed plans to improve behavioral health care in the five counties served by Mayview. She said 75 percent of patients leaving the hospital with community support plans live in facilities with 24-hour staff.

State officials have recently required that they or county officials agree before patients receiving community mental health care are released from case management. That directive came after a number of deaths, arrests or other serious incidents, known as sentinel events, occurred involving people with mental illness living in Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

But officials have said that those incidents have mostly involved people with mental illness who were not part of the community support planning process. They may, for example, have been released from Mayview years ago or were never hospitalized at the facility.

Among those recently released from the hospital, 80 percent believe life is better, according to survey results provided at last Friday’s meeting.

Some replied that they have more independence, while others complained of depression or the need to take medicine.

Only about a quarter of respondents said they were employed or doing volunteer work, though many of those who were not said they want to work, Ms. Fleming said.

Joe Fahy can be reached at jfahy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1722.
First published on September 26, 2008 at 12:00 am
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