We applaud today’s vote by the NH Senate HHS Committee of on HB 400.

The backlog of patients awaiting a bed at New Hampshire Hospital is a symptom of a broader, systems-wide problem: there is insufficient capacity across the entire mental health system here in New Hampshire.

Approval of HB 400 as amended allows us to tackle this challenge from a broader, systems-wide perspective, including additional inpatient psychiatric beds at designated receiving facilities (DRFs) around the state.

Hospitals remain committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders across the state to address this issue from a systems perspective, whether through the State 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver to build capacity to treat mental health as part of primary care practices; adding DRF beds to increase capacity, or adding residential treatment beds to help people following an acute mental health crisis.  We look forward to working with the legislature and others in our effort to better serve the needs of those suffering from mental illness.

We commend Senator Bradley, Senator Morse, Governor Sununu, Commissioner Meyers and many others for their commitment to address the challenges facing New Hampshire’s mental health system, and to ensuring that these patients are able to get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

 

Steve Ahnen is president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association