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Consultant recommends a state hospital with 75 to 85 beds

A consultant hired by a Legislative interim committee to help with a study of acute psychiatric care in North Dakota is recommending a state hospital with 75 to 85 beds.

The Acute Psychiatric Treatment Committee is looking at building a new state hospital. The location — Jamestown — would stay the same.

Renee Schulte told the committee says it’s not just the number of beds -- the facility will need different types of beds. Schulte said the state hospital has already been moving toward that specialization.

"Looking at more forensic-type beds, including for sex offenders," Schulte told the committee. "Looking for those court-mandated folks that need help. And then looking for those with really complex needs, that are above the capacity of private providers. That should be the main focus and scope of your hospital."

Schulte said this is already being practiced, for the most part. She said the state right now has an optimal number of beds for acute care – whether it be the state hospital or in residential treatment.

"However, up to 50 percent of those beds in private hospitals can be used for out-of-state placement," Schulte said. "If all 50 percent are used for out-of-state placement, that actually moves you down into a mild or moderate shortage of beds in your state."

Jason Hagland works with Schulte. He told the Committee the regional human service centers do a good job delivering services to the seriously mentally ill population, to support people living in community settings. But Hagland said they aren’t doing that good of a job at communicating with other providers in the community.

"It's kind of like a patchwork quilt," Hagland said. "We're asking the human service centers to shift to providing a little more consultation and support in their local communities, as more private providers are able to provide more levels of care."

Hagland said the centers have a potential to be leaders, and could help train private providers.

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