Nevadans struggle to get connected to behavioral health services resulting in long ER stays, denied referrals for treatment and increased costs to patients and the health care system. On average there are 100 people waiting in Nevada’s Emergency Rooms for placement into behavioral health services.

Psychiatric Boarding in Emergency Rooms leads to Emergency Department crowding, and systemic problems with patient flow. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage and hospitals continue to be impacted, people in behavioral health crisis are still coming into Nevada’s Emergency Rooms.

To help relieve some of these issues, the State of Nevada is implementing its first Behavioral Health Electronic Referral Network called the Nevada Health Connection. This network is supported by a system called OpenBeds, which is an electronic behavioral health referral and bed registry system. Not only does this system help providers find the most appropriate behavioral health placement for their patient, but the system also allows a provider to send a social services referral to 2-1-1 for wrap around services.

Hospitals are encouraged to join the Nevada Health Connection Network. It is free for hospitals to use OpenBeds, and system configuration can happen in a few days. OpenBeds supports hospitals in their ability to comply with federal CARA rules. Additionally, OpenBeds is a compliance tool for AB85, which passed during the 2019 Legislative Session and requires hospitals to report Legal Mental Health Data.

For additional information, please contact Miranda Branson with the Overdose Data to Action Program for information about training and onboarding at mirandabranson@unr.edu.