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Press Release

For Immediate Release
June 10, 2013

Communications Office

Governor Hassan, DHHS Announce 12 Additional Beds Opening Today at New Hampshire Hospital
New Beds Will Provide More Appropriate Mental Health Care, Alleviate Pressure on Emergency Rooms

CONCORD - As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen New Hampshire's strained mental health system, Governor Maggie Hassan and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that an additional 12-bed adult unit, J3, is opening today at New Hampshire Hospital.

The opening of the J3, previously a Neuropsychiatric Unit that was closed in 2009, will help address, but not eliminate, the waiting list in hospital emergency rooms for people seeking inpatient psychiatric care.

"Resolving the strains facing our mental health system is one of the most pressing challenges facing our state," Governor Hassan said. "This new 12-bed unit is an important step forward that will help provide more appropriate mental health care for those in need and alleviate the pressure on emergency rooms. We must continue to take a systematic approach to strengthen all aspects of mental health care in our state and move toward more community-based care. It is beyond time that we make real and meaningful investments in helping those in desperate need of care."

"The opening of J3 is a temporary and partial solution to address the wait list for admission to New Hampshire Hospital," said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. "For far too long people with mental illness have had to wait in emergency departments for critical inpatient care. The opening of J3 and development of additional community resources over the next biennium will go a long way to assure New Hampshire citizens needing acute care that they will not have to wait for extended periods of time in emergency departments."

"We are thankful for the support of Governor Hassan as well as cooperation from various state agencies who have worked together to assure that J3 opened to address the wait list," said NHH CEO Robert MacLeod, "but even with the 12 additional beds, people will still have to wait for admission. For example, we know that today there are 14 adults and 5 youth waiting for care. While that number is less than average over the last couple of years, any wait is too long for someone in crisis and their concerned family."

The Governor's balanced budget proposal includes increased funding to move forward with the state's 10-year plan to strengthen New Hampshire's strained mental health system. It expands acute care beds, adds a new designated receiving facility, adds community residence beds, provides subsidies for housing and support services, adds 10 Assertive Community Treatment Teams to assist people in crisis, and increases other community support services.

DHHS will continue to work with the New Hampshire Hospital Association, Community Mental Health Centers, consumer and family members, the NH state Planning Council, NAMI-NH, and the law-enforcement community on plans to expand and enhance the community-based care supports that are needed to address this need in New Hampshire.

"We have worked very closely with the Legislature throughout the budget process to secure the necessary funding to implement community-based services," Toumpas said. "We are hopeful that funding will be included in the final budget."