Press Release

New Report to Help Hospitals Improve Behavioral Health Services

As funding for behavioral health services remains inadequate, the American Hospital Association (AHA) today released a report to assist hospitals facing a growing demand for such services. 

The report, developed by the 18-member AHA Behavioral Health Task Force, offers recommendations on approaches to improve behavioral health services and examples of successful practices that can serve as models for implementing the recommendations. 

"Patients coming into the hospital with physical illness such as heart failure and cancer may also face behavioral health disorders," said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA president and CEO.  "While we do a good job of treating the physical illness, oftentimes we don't adequately address the behavioral health issues that may go hand-in-hand with these conditions."

The recommendations developed by the Task Force are presented around six themes that address strategies hospitals can undertake within their own organization and community.  Those themes include:

  • Community needs assessment,
  • Behavioral health planning,
  • Community collaboration,
  • Adequate financing,
  • Employer practices, and 
  • Advocacy

Each theme includes several recommendations hospitals should consider when determining the appropriate role for behavioral health services in the communities they serve.  Following most recommendations is a brief case example.

The report will be sent to all AHA member hospitals and is available on AHA's Web site, www.aha.org.

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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