The Aug. 23 Tribune Chronicle discussed Trumbull Regional Medical Center’s efforts to improve reimbursement for its mental health services. We want to provide further information on this issue because it’s essential for the community to understand the financial challenges we face and our dedication to offering behavioral health services despite inadequate Medicaid rates that don’t cover the rising costs of care.
Trumbull Regional is deeply committed to this community and to providing the highest quality of behavioral health services. In fact, in 2021, we invested $1.63 million in expanding our Emergency Department, which included the addition of five private psychiatric safe rooms to better serve behavioral health patients. Each year, Trumbull Regional treats over 3,000 behavioral health patients in the ER and 1,200 inpatients. However, we face significant obstacles due to insufficient government payer rates that fall well below the actual cost of providing care.
Trumbull Regional Medical Center is one of just two inpatient behavioral health providers in Trumbull County. We care for more than 14,000 Trumbull County residents who seek outpatient treatment annually. Not only have patient numbers increased, but the acuity level and intensity of need have also risen significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic. Factors such as isolation, stress, and depression have exacerbated the situation.
We offer inpatient behavioral health services for both adult and geriatric patients. Together, our adult and geriatric units provide a total of 35 behavioral health inpatient beds. The aim of both programs is to help individuals achieve optimal mental health in a professional and caring environment. The adult program serves patients aged 18 to 60, with 58% of them being on Medicaid. The geropsychiatric program serves patients aged 60 and over, with 60% on Medicare and 27% on Medicaid.
Despite the urgent need for this service, the severity of acuity levels, and the longer length of stay required to stabilize patients, Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health patients in Ohio have not increased in several years, even as the cost of care has significantly risen.
We have requested an increase in reimbursement for behavioral health Medicaid and managed Medicaid patients, with the support of state and local Legislatures, as well as community partners. This is crucial to ensure the long-term provision of this much-needed service.
We will continue to fight and advocate for our patients and the vital service we offer to the community.
Trumbull Regional Medical Center