Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health’s emergency room partnership with Adventist-Rideout wins National Association of Counties Achievement Award

Achievement Award Winner Seal

Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health’s novel partnership with Adventist Health-Rideout Regional Medical Center’s Emergency Department has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.

Sutter County received word of the award last week. The award is shared by Yuba County. Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health is a bi-county operation administered by Sutter County.

NACo recognized “Embedding Crisis Workers In Hospital ED Speeds Psychiatric Diagnosis, Treatment” in the category of Human Services. The program embeds Behavioral Health Crisis Workers at the Emergency Department 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows patients in psychiatric crisis to be assessed more quickly. The hospital provides access to psychiatrists through tele-medicine. The partnership has dramatically reduced the time patients spend in the emergency Department, freeing beds for other patients, and the time it takes to place a patient in a psychiatric hospital bed, if necessary.

Throughout the nation, hospitals are experiencing a large increase in the number of psychiatric patients in crisis being treated in hospital emergency rooms. Sutter-Yuba Behavioral Health’s partnership with Adventist Health-Rideout is a model being considered in other areas. It has received statewide and national attention and honors, and was to be the subject of a presentation to the American Psychiatrists Association meeting in New York last week.

Thanks to speedy diagnoses, fewer psychiatric patients are being hospitalized. Instead, more are being released on a treatment plan after it is determined they are not a danger to themselves or others.

The program also provides a safer working environment for Behavioral Health and medical staff at Rideout. Quicker treatment reduces stress for the psychiatric patient.

“Sutter County is accustomed to doing more with less, so we are always looking for those out of the box ideas,” said Board Chairman Dan Flores. “This idea seems simple—and it is when you think about it in simple terms–but it required a lot of trust and familiarity and hard work to build the chemistry in the Emergency Room. As a result, patients are being treated faster with more dignity, and Emergency Room beds aren’t taken up by psychiatric patients who need specialized care.”

The program received a California State Association of Counties Challenge Award in 2017. Here’s a video CSAC produced explaining the program:

NACo President Roy Charles Brooks said, “Counties seize opportunities to deliver services more efficiently and build stronger communities every day. Achievement Award-winning programs are examples for counties that are determined to enhance services for our residents.”

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition July 13-16 in Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.