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Cedars-Sinai to Phase Out Some Psychiatry Programs

Hospital Consultation Service, Other Psychiatry Programs to Remain; New Grant Program to Fund Community-Based Mental Health Programs

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will gradually phase out some of its psychiatry programs over the next year in a reorganization designed to focus on the institution’s core strengths while continuing to serve the community’s healthcare needs.

The specific timetable for closure of the hospital’s inpatient and outpatient psychiatry programs will be based on providing the current psychiatry patients with an appropriate, gradual transition. The psychiatry training program will also be phased out gradually.

“Cedars-Sinai will continue several of its psychiatric programs, including staffing of psychiatric support that is an adjunct to patient care throughout the medical center,” said Mark R. Gavens, senior vice president for clinical care services and chief operating officer. These include the psychiatric consultation service and the psychiatric staffing that supports the Emergency Department, Comprehensive Transplant Center, Samuel Oschin Cancer Center and other inpatient clinical areas.

In addition to continuing the psychiatric support that is an adjunct to other patient care programs throughout the medical center, Cedars-Sinai will be continuing clinical and research programs on Alzheimer’s disease and other memory disorders, as well as the wide range of neuroscience programs throughout the institution, including Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, stroke, multiple sclerosis, ALS and epilepsy, said Shlomo Melmed, MD, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the medical faculty.

Cedars-Sinai is also increasing its support and partnerships with local organizations that provide direct, community-based mental health services, including a new $1.5 million grant program to these organizations.

“At a time when the healthcare delivery system in our country is undergoing a massive transformation, every medical center has a responsibility to examine what it should focus on to ensure that it is strong over the long term to serve the community,” said Thomas M. Priselac, Cedars-Sinai’s president and CEO. “In looking at where our core strengths are in a variety of clinical and research areas, how we can best serve the community -- both now and in the future -- and where Cedars-Sinai is most likely to continue making the most effective contributions for the nation with advances in research and in training tomorrow’s physicians, this difficult decision needed to be made,” Priselac said.

Among the many areas where Cedars-Sinai has nationally recognized strengths in both patient care and research are in the treatment of heart disease, cancer, brain tumors and other neurological diseases, orthopaedics, spinal disorders, women’s health, surgery, digestive and metabolic diseases, and organ transplantation.

Cedars-Sinai treats more people each year than any other hospital in California. It is the only private nonprofit medical center of the four in Los Angeles that has a Level I Trauma Center designation, treating the most severely injured trauma patients regardless of their ability to pay. Cedars-Sinai’s Emergency Department, one of the largest and busiest in the state, will be undergoing a physical expansion over the next year, adding 10 beds to its existing 41-bed Emergency Department.

Cedars-Sinai is licensed for 51 inpatient psychiatric beds, and is currently operating 24. In October 2011, the inpatient psychiatric unit had an average daily occupancy of 17 patients. Nearby hospitals UCLA Medical Center and Brotman Medical Center have a total of 144 licensed psychiatric beds.

To provide the highest quality care and transition for current psychiatric patients, as well as for physicians and staff, Cedars-Sinai is coordinating several transition initiatives:

  • Cedars-Sinai has established a Transition Office to serve as a centralized resource for current psychiatric patients, to assist in ensuring that their individual needs for quality care are met during the transition. (The Transition Office phone number is 310-423-3411.)
  • Cedars-Sinai is working with the 150 affected employees and faculty to assist them in getting suitable employment at Cedars-Sinai or elsewhere.
  • Cedars-Sinai is working with the 27 psychiatry trainees currently enrolled at Cedars-Sinai (medical residents and fellows) so that they can successfully complete their training. Some will complete their clinical rotations at other institutions while remaining in Cedars-Sinai’s program, while others may transition to other institutions.

To continue to serve the community’s needs for mental health services, Cedars-Sinai is expanding its support of local organizations that provide direct mental health services in the community. One component is a new community mental-health grant program, which will initially provide $1.5 million to help existing community organizations expand the number of people they serve in their mental-health programs.

Cedars-Sinai is requesting grant proposals from a variety of local organizations, with an emphasis on those who focus on underserved or marginalized communities, including Central and South Los Angeles. The organizations will include those who currently partner with Cedars-Sinai on community health programs (such as the Saban Community Clinic - formerly the Saban Free Clinic, The Maple Counseling Center, Clínica Oscar Romero and Venice Family Clinic) as well as other organizations. Cedars-Sinai will also continue to partner with local governments (such as the City of Los Angeles, City of West Hollywood, and County of Los Angeles) on community mental-health programs.

The grant program is part of Cedars-Sinai’s overall community benefit contribution, which last year contributed more than $600 million toward free and part-pay hospital care to the uninsured and those with limited means, the unreimbursed costs of caring for Medi-Cal and Medicare patients; research and education; and hundreds of community programs in local schools, homeless shelters, mental-health organizations and community centers.