Waterbury Hospital sees surge in demand for adult, geriatric behavioral health care

BY John Stearns

Waterbury Hospital says it's seeing higher demand from adult and geriatric behavioral health patients and has asked state regulators to let it reserve more beds for those patients.

It wants to shift five beds historically held for teenage patients, for which it says demand has been low, to "swing" beds, so that all 30 inpatient behavioral beds can be available for adult and geriatric inpatients if needed, according to a document filed with the state Office of Health Care Access.

Since the hospital will continue to offer services for adolescent patients when needed and is not terminating services, it does not need to file a more comprehensive request, known as a Certificate of Need, for the move, OHCA ruled on Dec. 22.

If the hospital's behavioral inpatient beds are full when adolescents need inpatient behavioral care, they will be "treated or triaged for admission to an inpatient facility that has a consistent behavioral adolescent population," the hospital says.

The bed reallocation will help the hospital respond to what it calls a growing unmet need for adult and geriatric behavioral health patients in the community.

"In the coming years, Waterbury Hospital will be seeking to establish a premier geriatric psychiatric program to meet the demands of the community," it said.