Staffing issues forces Crozer Health to cut overnight and weekend hours in their Crisis Center – Delco Times
Crozer Health has announced that staffing issues are forcing them to cut overnight and weekend hours in their Crisis Center which treats mental health patients.
Crozer sent letters to area first responders stating they are struggling to provide adequate staffing and resources which is affecting their ability to admit patients needing psychiatric care overnight.
As of Monday Crozer began closing the crisis unit from 10 p.m.-8 a.m. during weekdays and from 8 p.m.-8 a.m. on weekends.
The letter noted that many county police departments transport patients requiring crisis services; including voluntary (201) or involuntary (302) committal directly to Crisis Center.
With the overnight closures Crozer has asked police to amend that practice and instead transport individuals requiring voluntary or involuntary commitment to the nearest Crozer Health emergency department.
Emergency Rooms are required to accept mental health patients and to evaluate them.
“It is vital that you and your colleagues understand that Crozer Health is fully committed to providing high quality, compassionate psychiatric care and that these closures are temporary while we work diligently to increase our staffing,” the letter stated.
With the overnight closures Delaware County police and fire dispatchers will notify first responders that the Crisis Center is on divert.
Timothy Boyce, Director of Emergency Services for Delaware County said the county is aware that the access to mental health, either people voluntarily committing themselves, or someone committing them is important.
“We want to make sure that it is efficient, and people get the treatment they need, but also report to the appropriate place, when possible,” Boyce said.
Since the beginning of the year, Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. the parent company of Crozer Health has been stripping away services or closing facilities in their hospitals in Delaware County which is the largest health system in the County.
In April County Council passed an emergency ordinance requiring hospitals and long-term care facilities to provide notice to the County and develop closing plans when closing hospitals, significant units of hospitals, or long-term care facilities.
In May the Delaware County filed a petition for a preliminary injunction against Prospect and proposed closings at Crozer Health. Prospect Crozer and the County agreed to a stipulation with the court for Prospect Crozer to voluntarily maintain its behavioral health services operating through at least August 31, 2022, pending continued discussions.
The County petition for a preliminary injunction was continued to August 22nd as determined by the Court.
Brookhaven Police Chief Michael Vice said the situation is quite frustrating and he is anticipating disruption for police with the closures.
“It is really an unfortunate situation especially since we, along with other surrounding departments, rely on the Crisis Center for assistance with our mental health consumers,” Vice said. “We are now being directed to have those in need of mental health help, either involuntary or voluntary, to be brought to the hospital emergency room.
Vice pointed out that emergency rooms are already overloaded with sick patients and the Crisis Center closures will make the situation worse. He also said it likely ties up officers up for a significant amount of time if there are no beds available.
“If it is an involuntary commitment (302), we cannot simply leave the individual in the emergency room. We are required to remain with them until the commitment is approved” Vice said. “Smaller agencies, such as ours, cannot afford to be tied up waiting for a bed, paperwork to be accepted, etc, as it puts significant constraints on our manpower.”
Vice said at this point they have not been given any other options.
“I am hoping that someone will step up and address this issue and that there will be transparent conversations taking place in order to find a solution to this urgent situation,” he said.