• Article

Impact of state psychiatric hospital waitlists on monthly admissions

Citation

La, E. M., Morrissey, J. P., Hassmiller, K., Domino, M. E., Seibert, J., & Waller, A. (2017). Impact of state psychiatric hospital waitlists on monthly admissions. Psychiatric Services, 68(11), 1201-1204. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ps.201600578

Abstract

Objective: This study estimated the effects of a wait-list policy on the monthly number and case mix of admissions to state psychiatric hospitals (SPHs) in North Carolina (NC).

Methods: Descriptive analyses compared pre/post wait list differences in the monthly number and case mix of nonforensic adult admissions (N=72,035) to NC's four SPHs by using data from the three years before and the three years after the waitlist announcement. Hospital-level fixed-effects regression models further evaluated the waitlist policy's impact on the number and case mix of admissions.

Results: Regression results confirmed that the waitlist policy was associated with both fewer admissions and changes to the case mix of admissions, including a 4.2% decrease in the percentage of monthly admissions by patients with diagnoses of substance abuse disorders (p=.002) across allmonths postwaitlist (partially offset by an increase of patients with diagnoses of severe mental illness alone).

Conclusions: Waitlists led to reduced monthly admissions and altered case mix following implementation at NC SPHs.