November 8, 2023
OWOSSO, Mich., November 8, 2023 – Memorial Healthcare, an independent, non-profit hospital in Shiawassee County, has been awarded a $4,719,754 grant from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association to expand access to inpatient behavioral health services over the next three years.
This funding comes at a time when behavioral health services are facing shortages across the country, and those living in rural areas have even less access to these services than metropolitan areas. Memorial Healthcare aims to combat that by largely using this funding to support the staffing of its inpatient Behavioral Health Unit (BHU). In addition to supporting its current workforce, this grant will allow the opportunity to increase staffing, including additional social workers and a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant, renovate the unit to meet the needs of our inpatient population, and provide additional resources for patients.
“To receive this grant at a time when other rural healthcare institutions are having to cut their behavioral health programs means we’ll be able to provide the Shiawassee community with the services they need without having to travel miles and miles to access them,” said Alisha Lockhart, Manager of the BHU. “As the only inpatient unit of its kind in our wide rural service region, we know the importance behavioral health services have on individuals and are grateful to be able to offer additional resources and services with the receipt of this grant.”
In its 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment, Memorial Healthcare reported that 59 percent of Shiawassee County residents felt sad, hopeless, or depressed in the last 12 months, 39 percent of residents stated that their jobs cause them stress or anxiety, followed closely by finances, and 40 percent of those survey shared that they or a family member had been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety or emotional problems in the past year. These results have made mental health a critical focus for the 2023 Shiawassee County Community Health Improvement Plan.
In 2022, the BHU provided 3,866 patient days of treatment in its 19-bed inpatient Behavioral Health Unit for 717 patients. Additionally, 3.2 percent of Emergency Department volumes at Memorial Healthcare required a behavioral health assessment, equating to roughly 882 patients. With this grant, there is an opportunity to increase assessments to 10 percent.
This grant offers the opportunity to substantially increase mental health care in the Shiawassee County area. Memorial Healthcare will not only seek to expand the number of caregivers on staff but also invest in the professional development of those employees working in the Behavioral Health Unit by providing access to additional training.
“Our compassionate staff is at the heart of everything we do at Memorial Healthcare,” said Megan Smith, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “It can be hard and even scary to seek out behavioral health services, but there is hope, and we’re here to help. These grant funds will have a tremendous impact on our ability to serve patients throughout our region.”
Memorial Healthcare’s BHU provides outstanding quality and service and is in the top percentile for willingness to recommend based on Press Ganey’s national database survey, which assists healthcare organizations in identifying areas where they can improve the quality of care and patient satisfaction.
There will also be renovations to the BHU set to begin over the next few years which will be conducted in phases. For more information on behavioral health services offered at Memorial Healthcare, please visit https://www.memorialhealthcare.org/service/behavioral-health/.