Skip to main content

California Community Hospital Closing Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit

Analysis  |  By Christopher Cheney  
   January 27, 2023

Redlands Community Hospital has been offering inpatient behavioral health services since the mid-1980s.

Citing financial constraints and relatively low utilization rates, Redlands Community Hospital in California is closing its Behavioral Health Inpatient Adult Unit.

Financing is one of the top challenges for hospitals' behavioral health services. Primary strategies to address inadequate reimbursement of behavioral health services are subsidization and seeking grant funding.

Redlands has been offering inpatient behavioral health services since the mid-1980s. The Behavioral Health Inpatient Adult Unit, which features 18 locked adult beds, is set to close on Feb. 1. The closure will affect 27 staff members.

The hospital will continue to offer outpatient behavioral health services, including a partial hospitalization program.

The decision to close the Behavioral Health Inpatient Adult Unit was not taken lightly, James Holmes, Redlands president and CEO, told HealthLeaders. "Our decision to close the unit comes after a comprehensive review, including the assessment of multiple factors such as the cost of uncompensated care and a decline in patient volume."

Redlands is committed to continuing to offer outpatient behavioral health services, he said. "The inpatient and outpatient services have distinct purposes. Once a patient's mental health is stabilized, outpatient services can further assist the patient in their symptom management and treatment goals at a lower level of care with the goal of community integration. Our outpatient care programs help individuals get the services they need, while reducing the likelihood of hospitalization. Across the board, both culturally and medically, outpatient care is often the preferred method of care by patients and their families. We are committed to continuing to provide access to outpatient behavioral health services."

Redlands does not expect the closure of the inpatient unit to have a significant impact on mental health services in the region, Holmes said. "The Redlands Community Hospital inpatient volume has been down. Additionally, the Inland Empire has other behavioral health service providers that have larger capacity and specialize in a broader range of services. Redlands Community Hospital has informed these facilities of its closure to ensure a smooth transition."

Three hospitals in the region have larger inpatient behavioral health programs: Loma Linda Medical Center with 87 beds, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center with 90 beds, and the Community Hospital of San Bernardino with 99 beds.

Finances and related challenges were key factors in the decision to close the inpatient behavioral health unit, Holmes said. "Nationally and locally, hospitals and health systems have experienced financial challenges since the coronavirus pandemic began and Redlands Community Hospital is not immune. Like most industries, we have experienced staffing issues, supply chain disruptions, inflation, and the rising cost of doing business. The cost for uncompensated care is another factor in this challenging equation as we absorb additional costs post-pandemic."

Closing the inpatient behavioral health unit is in the best interest of the hospital and the communities it serves, he said. "Just as we did during the pandemic, by coming together, we are able to innovate and create initiatives that serve the greater good. We need to remain strong so we can keep individuals healthy and be there for our communities that depend on our services."

Redlands employs 1,700 staff members and about 300 physicians work at the hospital. The facility has an annual budget of $350 million.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The decision to close the inpatient behavioral health unit was driven by financial constraints and low patient volume, the hospital's president and CEO says.

The hospital will continue to offer outpatient behavioral health services, including a partial hospitalization program.

The closure of the inpatient unit is not expected to have a significant impact on mental health services in the region, with three other hospitals in the area staffing more than 270 inpatient behavioral health beds.

Tagged Under:


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.