Sentara hoping to add psych beds in Virginia Beach

Sentara Healthcare will seek a Certificate of Public Need (COPN) for up to 24 behavioral health beds at Sentara Virginia Beach General.

Under the proposal, the hospital intends to convert more than 20 of its 276 licensed beds for geriatric and general adult psychiatric patients. Geriatric beds are for elderly patients with behavioral issues related to dementia or long-standing mentall illness.

One goal, Sentara reports, is to coordinate placement of psychiatric patients from Sentara's emergency departments in the most appropriate inpatient beds among hospitals with psych units. Other goals include enhancing provider staffing and integrating primary care and chronic disease management into a continuum of care for psychiatric patients whose mental illness makes it difficult for them to manage co-existing conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Based on a normal review schedule, a final decision by the Commissioner of Health could come in February 2013.

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