Innovative Emergency Mental Health Treatment Model Takes Off in the Midwest

 // News

April 5  

An innovative emergency mental health treatment model in Minnesota (EmPATH) has been a  resounding success in its first two years. Health systems throughout the country are now opening their  own EmPATH units, including for children. 

EmPATH, which stands for Emergency Psychiatric Assessment, Treating, and Healing, provides mental  health care and treatment in a calming environment, rather than a hectic emergency room, with expert  care so that people in crisis can get help quickly. 

Launched first in Minnesota in 2021 at M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital, the new model has  treated nearly 5,000 people experiencing a mental health crisis, while reducing the need for additional  higher-level care by 63 percent. 

Historically, 40 percent of patients who arrived in Southdale Hospital’s emergency department with  mental health symptoms were admitted to inpatient care. That rate is now 15 percent. 

Data shows that EmPATH also reduces the rate of repeat visits to the emergency department. Less than  17 percent of patients return for mental health emergency care after EmPATH treatment, because  patients receive tailored care and connection to appropriate services they need right away. 

Since the launch of the M Health Fairview EmPATH in March 2021, other health systems have opened  units, including Sanford Health, which launched the first EmPATH unit to treat both adults and children  in Bemidji, Minn. Bemidji is in a rural part of the state that’s a federally designated mental health  provider shortage area so having access to these services is lifesaving for families who otherwise had to  travel at least 90 miles one way to get the care they need in time to make a difference. 

More information: Minnesota’s first EmPATH reduces hospital admissions for people experiencing mental  health crises 

About M Health Fairview 

M Health Fairview is the newly expanded collaboration between the University of Minnesota, University of  Minnesota Physicians, and Fairview Health Services. The healthcare system combines the best of academic and  community medicine – expanding access to world-class, breakthrough care through our 10 hospitals and 60  clinics. 

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