McKee Highlights 2023 Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) Accomplishments

 McKee Highlights 2023 Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH)  Accomplishments
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PROVIDENCE, RI — With the year drawing to a close, Governor Dan McKee today highlighted the 2023 work of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to care for Rhode Islanders with mental health or substance use conditions, developmental disabilities, and long-term care needs. The Department’s accomplishments during 2023 include the start of building renovations at Eleanor Slater Hospital, accreditation at the state’s newest hospital, and progress on multiple fronts to improve and expand access to programs that serve thousands.

“The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals cares for more than 50,000 Rhode Islanders, and the needs are great in each area the Department serves,” said Governor Dan McKee. “That’s why it is encouraging to see that BHDDH, as it fills this critical role, is striving to enhance these services, which impact many Rhode Islanders, including family members and friends of each one of us.”

State Hospitals

At Eleanor Slater Hospital, 2023 saw renovations begin on a wing at the Beazley facility in Burrillville. Due for completion early next year, the wing will accommodate ventilator patients who are now in the Eleanor Slater’s Regan facility, on the Cranston campus. This project opens the door to further renovations, because moving the ventilator patients to the Beazley facility, combined with other moves of patients and staff, will allow more than $35 million in renovations to begin at the Regan facility. When those renovations are complete, the Regan facility will be ligature resistant, with numerous upgrades that enhance safety and patient care.

Also at Eleanor Slater Hospital, a biennial survey of staff by the Quality and Research division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that perceptions of patient safety and leadership’s commitment to safety dramatically improved over the past two years, with the hospital now scoring above nearly all national benchmarks, including those for open communication, supervisor support for safety, and overall safety. The survey affirms numerous steps the hospital has taken over the past two years to improve training, safety, communication, and staff morale.

At the Rhode Island State Psychiatric Hospital, the accomplishments include an award of accreditation by The Joint Commission. Surveyors visited the hospital during the spring, about six months after it opened, and assessed adherence to standards in 19 areas, including life safety, environment of care, medication management and emergency management. The surveyors concluded that the hospital was clean, well-organized, and functioning as a team.

Behavioral Health

BHDDH’s Division of Behavioral Health continued to move forward with plans to transition the state away from a Community Mental Health Center model of care to a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC) model, which will enhance Rhode Island’s ability to provide behavioral healthcare in community-based settings. Toward this end, the BH Division published CCBHC certification standards, developed an application process for CCBHCs, and contingently certified four CCBHCs.

The BH Division also:

Used state settlement and federal funds to add 70 Substance Use Disorder residential beds to the current care system, reducing wait times and improving access to care;

Established regulations for Enhanced Mental Health Psychiatric Rehabilitative Residences (E-MHPRR), with the first expected to open in December;

Reported a reduction in underage tobacco violations by retailers, from a rate of 22.5 percent in 2022 to 13.2 percent in 2023;

Reported that Rhode Island Student Assistant Services, which provides evidence-based programs in schools and communities to prevent substance use and promote mental health, is providing services in 77 middle and high schools across the state — an all-time high.

Developmental Disabilities

BHDDH’s Division of Developmental Disabilities continued to move forward with the Consent Decree Action Plan, taking steps agreed to with the federal Department of Justice and the Federal Court. Investments supported by Governor McKee and the General Assembly are improving access to employment and strengthening the network of providers that work with the Department’s DD clients.

The DD Division also:

Completed a rate review that provides the basis for future investments in the adult DD system;

Moved forward with a RI Statewide Workforce Initiative to help providers and self-directing employers stabilize their workforces and build career paths in the DD service system; and,

Created a communications and training unit to better meet the needs of the DD community, by sharing information and providing training.

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