The North Dakota Department of Human Services will be working with the Human Service Research Institute to identify the state’s capacity to meet psychiatric in-patient needs across the state, as well as the needs in other areas of behavioral health.
State human services director Chris Jones said the study came from action in the 2019 Legislature.
"The Governor had budgeted for a new state hospital," Jones said. "And the legislature looked at how we create, on the treatment side, access to in-patient services across the state."
Jones said the study will look at where the beds are today, where should those beds be going forward, should there be a Medicaid waiver to see if things can be done differently.
"It's looking at the whole in-patient continuum of care," Jones said.
Jones said there will also be a study at other levels of behavioral health needs.
"We will look at the prevalence of mental illness, and what type of mental illness it is," Jones said. "We will focus the assessment around what the need is, rather than how many buildings we need. It's more about the person."
Jones said it is well known that one of the barriers to have behavioral health treatment in the community is a workforce shortage.
"We're going to have to be far more creative in how we recruit workforce," Jones said. "We know we have gaps across the entire system, and if we are able to fill some of those other gaps, our need for some of the services will be diminished as well."
The study could result in recommendations to the 2021 Legislature.