County program that imbeds Behavioral Health workers at Rideout Emergency Department earns statewide recognition


Sutter County received word on Thursday that it will be receiving a Challenge Award from the California State Association of Counties for a one-of-a-kind collaboration between Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health Services and Rideout Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department that imbeds Behavioral Health workers in the Emergency Department, saving valuable time and hospital bed space when individuals are being diagnosed for possible mental health issues.

Emergency Departments across the country are facing a crisis. Patients who present with mental health issues must be evaluated by mental health workers, in addition to any other medical condition they might have. It takes time to get a mental health worker to the hospital, and hospital beds for psychiatric care are increasingly hard to come by. Because Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health workers have been stationed at Rideout’s emergency department since late 2015, however, the time it takes to evaluate patients with potential mental health issues has been decreased, and so has the need for psychiatric hospital placement. In short, patients are spending less time in the emergency room and fewer are being hospitalized altogether.

If patients need to speak to a psychiatrist for evaluation, Rideout’s Emergency Department provides the service remotely through tele-medicine. It greatly speeds the diagnosis.

CSAC is an organization that provides lobbying and continuing education for California’s counties. Its Challenge Award program recognizes excellence in local government programs. Because Sutter-Yuba Mental Health Services is a bi-county agency providing services to both Sutter and Yuba counties, Yuba County will be receiving a Challenge Award as well. The awards will be presented at a future joint event. Stay tuned!