January 16, 2015 – Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton (BID-Milton) was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the Health Policy Commission to develop an integrated behavioral health program in partnership with South Shore Mental Health and other community-based providers.

A major focus of the grant will be the development and addition of patient-centered enhancements to the hospital’s Emergency Department to efficiently manage patients with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Enhanced capabilities will include conducting telehealth psychiatric assessments and improved services for boarding patients awaiting placement in an inpatient behavioral health facility.

Grant monies will also support a team of South Shore Mental Health clinicians, including crisis assessment clinicians, a behavioral health navigator and certified peer specialists, which will provide specialized clinical, supportive and follow-up services to behavioral health patients within BID-Milton’s Emergency Department.

According to hospital officials, the grant will also help with the establishment of a behavioral health outreach and linkage program with regional healthcare providers to improve early intervention with patients considered at risk for a crisis, the development of an integrated care learning consortium with other area providers to more closely coordinate services and the implementation of workforce development programs and new communication technologies to enhance the care provided to patients.

“This grant will enable BID-Milton to partner with South Shore Mental Health and other local providers, including emergency medical services, to greatly improve the community’s access to appropriate behavioral health services,” said Ashley Yeats, MD, vice president of healthcare quality and chief medical officer for the hospital. “It will help us to 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.  Overall, it will help us improve the quality of care for this underserved and growing patient population while reducing inpatient hospital utilization and costs.”

 “South Shore Mental Health is pleased to partner with BID-Milton on this important project.  The program model will reduce the time spent in the emergency room and improve the patient’s experience.  It will allow for better care and efficiencies in managing psychiatric emergencies.  Early identification of mental illness coupled with innovative programming and solutions will provide patients with a more effective continuum of care,” said Harry Shulman, President/CEO, South Shore Mental Health.

The grant to BID-Milton was awarded through the Health Policy Commission, which awarded $60 million in Community Hospital Acceleration, Rehabilitation and Transformation (CHART) grants to 28 community hospitals, including BID-Milton.  CHART grants are designated to help community hospitals enhance access to behavioral health services and ready hospitals to participate in an accountable care rather than a fee-for-service payment model.

“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.  “The improvements this grant will help to fund at the hospital and in the community hit the ‘triple aim’ of healthcare reform,  that is providing the right care, in the right place at the right time.”

About South Shore Mental Health

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