Last month, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton officially opened a new behavioral health-sensitive treatment area  within the Emergency Department (ED). The newly renovated, four-bed area is physically separate from the main ED treatment area to provide a more therapeutic environment for behavioral health patients. It was opened in conjunction with a $2 million grant awarded to BID-Milton through the Health Policy Commission in order to develop an integrated behavioral health program with South Shore Mental Health.

The patient-centered treatment area is designed to appropriately and efficiently care for those patients with acute mental health and/or substance abuse issues and provides improved services for boarding patients awaiting placement in an inpatient behavioral health facility. Lack of coordinated behavioral health services is a pressing public health problem throughout the community and the state.

“This new area will improve the response to behavioral health crises in the community, as well as reduce the length-of-time these patients may spend in the Emergency Department awaiting assessment and referral to treatment," stated Vice President of Healthcare Quality and Chief Medical Officer Ashley Yeats, MD. "Overall, it will help us improve the quality of care for this under-served patient population while reducing inpatient hospital utilization and costs.”

As part of the integrated behavioral health program, a team of South Shore Mental Health professionals, including crisis assessment clinicians, a behavioral health navigator and certified peer specialists, will provide specialized clinical, supportive and follow-up services to behavioral health patients within the new treatment area.

“South Shore Mental Health is pleased to partner with BID-Milton on this important project in improving the quality and safety of care provided to our behavioral health patients," said Sherry Ellis, LICSW, MSW, vice president of crisis and rehabilitation services for South Shore Mental Health.

“Improving access to appropriate, high-quality care for individuals suffering from mental health and/or substance abuse issues was clearly identified as a pressing public health problem in the hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment,” explained Peter Healy, president and CEO of BID-Milton.  "This new treatment area will ensure that BID-Milton continues its mission of providing the appropriate level of care at the right place and the right time."

BID-Milton was one out of 28 community hospitals awarded a Community Hospital Acceleration, Rehabilitation and Transformation (CHART) grant through the Health Policy Commission last fall.

About South Shore Mental Health

South Shore Mental Health (SSMH) provides mental health and early intervention services to over 16,000 children, families and adults from Boston to Cape Cod.  Visit for more information.