Winona Health is integrating its inpatient behavioral health unit with other hospital and inpatient services.

The inpatient Department of Behavioral Health will be fully integrated as part of Winona Health’s inpatient services this month. According to a statement from Winona Health, the goal is to provide behavioral health expertise with a holistic approach to care and to more efficiently serve patients with a range of behavioral health needs.

“We are intentionally working to integrate behavioral health into our primary care and inpatient services to support a patient-centered holistic care approach,” said Rachelle Schultz, CEO. “This integration will also allow for expanded access to behavioral health care in our outpatient behavioral health clinic. Having additional appointments available to our patients in the outpatient setting allows our psychiatric and counseling specialists to help more individuals who are seeking care.”

The hospital announced that no positions were eliminated with the transition, and Winona Health continues to have career opportunities available.

In working with physician leaders to evaluate the impact of this change, Winona Health said it anticipates limited change to patient access.

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“The exception may be for patients who have been transferred to us from outside Winona County, including areas such as Duluth, Mankato, Albert Lea and Austin, which made up nearly 50% of our inpatient behavioral health patients,” said Robin Hoeg, vice president of hospital and senior services.

More than a year ago, Winona Health delicensed its behavioral health unit as a separate inpatient psychiatric unit and continued to use that space to take care of people who have mental and behavioral health concerns.

This is a further step in integrating behavioral health services with the rest of inpatient care including intensive care and medical and surgical care, according to Winona Health. Patients will continue to be assessed for safety and the appropriate level and location of care.

“We’re taking care of people who have mental and behavioral health concerns throughout our organization, from outpatient psychiatric and counseling services to urgent care and emergency departments, to primary care clinics and inpatient care every single day, and we’ll continue to provide that care,” Schultz said.

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(1) comment


In Winona Health jargon, "integrate" is a syonym for layoffs and reduction in patient services. A three-month wait to see a general practitioner (MD) is not a service. This is not subject to comparison. I will wager Gunderson's opening will be welcome.

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