Employees Health

Update to inpatient behavioral health services at AU Health

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Augusta, Ga. — Due to the cost of new safety mandates affecting mental health service providers nationwide this spring, Augusta University Health System will discontinue inpatient behavioral health services on June 30.

“This decision was not easy, but new regulations made continuation of an in-house unit financially unviable,” said Lee Ann Liska, medical center CEO.

The upgrades needed to bring the space into compliance would cost approximately $3 million.

The health system will continue to care for patients needing inpatient behavioral health services at partner sites such as Lighthouse Care Center, where the hospital already has an agreement for psychiatric child and adolescent inpatient services.

“Partnering with licensed inpatient psychiatric facilities that specialize in the provision of behavioral health services will ensure that this community continues to receive the services it so desperately needs,” she said. “Larger numbers of patients will have access to specialized clinical expertise and advanced research discoveries.”

These partnerships will allow the hospital to focus investment on core services such as physician training and recruitment.

“We provide the specialty expertise and our partners provide the advanced care facilities and support services necessary for positive patient outcomes,” she said.

Augusta University’s practice site will continue seeing patients needing outpatient services.

“This change will not impact our outpatient services,” Liska said. “Our hope is that exposure to larger, more diverse patient populations will broaden our outreach and increase our presence regionally, without sacrificing the care and service patients visiting our clinics deserve and expect.”

Human Resources is working with impacted employees to identify employment opportunities.

Patients needing inpatient behavioral health services should contact the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225. The 24/7 hotline is available 365 days a year to help you or someone you care for in a crisis related to mental health, intellectual or developmental disability or substance use.

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About the author

Christen Engel

Christen Engel is Associate Vice President of Communications at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at cengel@augusta.edu.