In April 2010, the State of Missouri Department of Mental Health announced its intent to close the Emergency Department and a phased closure of fifty inpatient psychiatric beds at the St. Louis Metropolitan Psychiatric Center, the only public mental health hospital in the Eastern region. The result of the closures was long waits in the region’s ERs for psychiatric patients in medical environments that are not designed to safely provide emergency psychiatric care. In May 2010, the state made a formal request of the Regional Health Commission to create a local plan to address issues created by the closure.

In response to the state’s request, the RHC convened a Regional Planning Group and a Short-Term Crisis Management Team the following month. These groups assessed the scope and scale of the closure and its impact on the community, then identified and addressed the key issues the closure creates.

As a result of their collaboration and dedication, the St. Louis Psychiatric Stabilization Center (PSC) opened its doors one year later in 2011 with ongoing financial support from the Missouri Dept. of Mental Health and $1.5 million in start-up funding from the Regional Health Commission.

At the time of Metropolitan Psychiatric Center’s Emergency Department closure, psychiatric patients spent on average six to eight hours in busy hospital emergency departments with well over 12 to 24 hours until an inpatient psychiatric bed became available.  The PSC worked to direct patients in psychiatric crisis from emergency rooms into treatment facilities that are appropriate for short-term care. The St. Louis Psychiatric Stabilization Center provided consumer-focused care through its 24-hour Intake Area, the Brief Treatment Unit and licensed and accredited staff with the ability to direct patients to further medical, social, and psychiatric services.

As of April 2015, BJC HealthCare assumed operations and ownership of the PSC. Barnes-Jewish Hospital currently operates the facility, with medical staffing by physicians in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine. The facility’s current name is the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Psychiatric Support Center.

Key Documents

Short-Term Crisis Management Team Scope and Impact of MPC ED/Acute Care Closure

Emergency Response, Capacity and Communications Plan, Final Draft

MPC Short-Term Crisis Team Emergency Response, Capacity, and Communications Plan

MPC Regional Psychiatric Capacity Analysis and Recommendations

Community Access Transformation, Final Proposal

Eastern Region Behavioral Health Steering Committee Approved Principles on Privatization of a State-Operated Mental Health Facility