Sheppard Pratt wins hospital contract Health system deal for 3 years provides psychiatric services

March 23, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Sheppard Pratt Health System is providing mental health services at Carroll County General Hospital in Westminster.

The Carroll hospital has contracted with the health system for it to provide psychiatric services and counseling to its adult day program for mental health outpatients and to the 20-bed behavioral health services unit, formerly called the psychiatric unit.

Neither Towson-based Sheppard Pratt nor the hospital would disclose how much the Towson institution would be paid under the three-year contract, which became effective March 1.

Sheppard Pratt, an outgrowth of the 106-year-old Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, replaces Glass Mental Health Centers, a Baltimore-based mental health services provider that has served Carroll hospital patients since it opened a psychiatric wing in 1991.

Sheppard Pratt began providing services four months ahead of schedule.

Deanna Dell, the Carroll hospital executive vice president, said the early start was requested by Dr. Sheldon Glass, a Baltimore psychiatrist who owns Glass Mental Health Centers.

Dell said Sheppard Pratt won the contract over seven other bidders, including Glass Mental Health.

Bonnie B. Katz, director of marketing, managed care and public information for Sheppard Pratt, said the hospital system concluded four years ago that providing mental health services to general hospitals "was a good business for us to be in."

Sheppard Pratt has similar contracts with Fallston General and Harford Memorial hospitals in Harford County, and North Arundel Hospital, St. Agnes Hospital and Northwest Hospital Center in the Baltimore area.

Sheppard Pratt will serve adults and adolescents in the inpatient unit and adults in the day program. Dell said average daily occupancy of the inpatient unit is 17. The day program serves an average of six adults daily. The Maryland Hospital Association reported that the Carroll hospital had just under 800 patients with psychiatric diagnoses from September 1996 through September 1997, the most recent data available.

The Towson institution's psychiatrists will be on call to evaluate Carroll emergency room patients. Nurses and technicians in both programs will be Carroll employees. Sheppard Pratt will provide a mental health liaison between the hospital and community services, Dell said.

Larry Welsh, director of the behavioral health services unit at Carroll, said the hospital is considering starting a day therapy program for teen-agers similar to the adult day program, which serves people who don't require hospitalization.

"If a mother is depressed, she may be very concerned because she has children at home. [If she is hospitalized] who's going to take care of the children? [In the adult day program] she can put the children on the bus, drive herself to the hospital, receive treatment for depression and be back to meet the bus," Welsh said.

The five-day-a-week day program is supervised by a psychiatrist, social worker, registered nurse and intake coordinator, Welsh said. The pressure for shorter hospital stays has created a need for programs like the day program, Welsh said. The average adult psychiatric inpatient stay is three to five days; for adolescents, four to seven days.

Pub Date: 3/23/98

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