August 7, 2008
222 South Warren Street
Trenton, NJ 08625
Contact: Ellen Lovejoy
DHS releases data on psychiatric hospitals and Ancora progress
Division of Mental Health Services reaches benchmarks set by commissioner
TRENTON – In keeping with its commitment to increase transparency and accountability, the Division of Mental Health Services (DMHS) today released an update on progress at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital and detailed statistical information about incidents in the state’s five public psychiatric hospitals.
DMHS now regularly posts more comprehensive information on its website about public psychiatric hospitals than any other state in the country.
The release of the progress report highlights reductions in patient population, admissions and walkaways, as well as key treatment restructuring set by Commissioner Jennifer Velez in a May 21 st comprehensive administrative order requiring regular updates on Ancora improvements.
The release of the “data dashboard” report posts monthly aggregate incident data, and the website will expand in the coming months to provide daily updates of data, as well as other state hospital activities.
“Real progress takes time,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “I am pleased we are beginning to see quantifiable results emanating from the administrative order initiated by Commissioner Velez in May. Our overarching goal remains to be the wellness, treatment and recovery of patients in our psychiatric hospitals throughout the state.”
“Transparency is essential for transformation,” Commissioner Velez said. “This additional information will not only increase public accountability but also help us better communicate positive activities in the state hospital system. These benchmark improvements clearly demonstrate Governor Corzine’s commitment to improve state hospital care.”
The Ancora advancements include: a 16-percent reduction in patient population; a 24-percent decrease in admissions; reductions in patients’ lengths of stays and unauthorized walkways; improved security; and an increase in active, evidence-based treatment for patients.
The department also is d eveloping acute and extended-care units, creating a treatment mall, launching a self-help center and finalizing a staff training unit, according to the progress report. Another report on Ancora improvements is expected to be posted on the department’s website December 31.
DMHS previously posted census information and patient status. Now thepostings also include information about expected and unexpected deaths at each hospital, assaults, the number of patients who go off grounds without permission, and the number of patients who have been deemed ready for discharge but remain because of a lack of community options (Conditional Extension Pending Placement – CEPP).
DMHS Assistant Commissioner Kevin Martone said he expects that the data will be critical for management decision-making as the division continues to address the challenges facing state psychiatric hospitals. He said the department intends to add more information to the website and make it interactive in the near future so users themselves can view trends across years.
The information is posted in aggregate form and does not list patients’ names, in accordance with confidentiality laws.
The five state psychiatric hospitals are: Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital, Ann Klein Forensic Center, and Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.
Link to dashboard, progress report and Administrative Order