NDSH may seek more bedsThe North Dakota State Hospital may look for money to expand its number of beds during the next legislative session, according to the superintendent’s report presented to the State Hospital Governing Board Monday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The North Dakota State Hospital may look for money to expand its number of beds during the next legislative session, according to the superintendent’s report presented to the State Hospital Governing Board Monday.
“If we’re going to see an increase in the number of patients we’re going to need more space,” said Alex Schweitzer, superintendent of the State Hospital. “It will all depend on the situation when the budgets are prepared for the next budget cycle.”
The State Hospital will begin preparing budget requests during the second quarter of 2010 for consideration by the Legislature in 2011.
Schweitzer said the current capacity of the State Hospital is 90 beds in the Tompkins Unit used for treatment of prisoners from the North Dakota Department of Corrections, 85 beds in secure services for sex offenders and 132 beds in traditional services treating other forms of mental illness.
“The majority of inpatient psychiatric beds in North Dakota are here at the State Hospital,” he said. “As private hospitals contract and use goes up there is more pressure.”
Schweitzer said inpatient psychiatric care has gone up over the past years partially due to methamphetamine use. He also said some private hospitals that operated psychiatric units have either downsized their units or eliminated them all together.
“We used to budget for 85 percent occupancy,” he said. “Now we’re at 95 to 100 plus percent at times.”
Schweitzer said any expansion would occur in the building known as 16 West. That building recently had basic maintenance and roof and elevator repairs but would require renovation for use for patient care.
No cost estimates for the renovation were discussed.
“This is all very preliminary,” he said. “We won’t know what our requirements, if any, will be for more space.”
In other business the board approved changes to the medical staff bylaws and regulations regarding hospital privileges for medical students and residents and emergency credentialing for new hires.
The next board meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2010.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com