State Hospital Transfer

Texas state hospitals are filled to capacity and hospital officials are working to make room for patients with mental health issues.

The Vernon State Hospital has no more room and patients are on waiting lists for mental health treatments.  This summer the North Texas State Hospital in Wichita Falls will be accepting some of the Vernon patients.

It's all in an effort to cut waiting lists down and make more room for patients suffering from mental health illnesses across the state.

Carrie Williams is the spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Health Services.  She said, "We very much want people to get the treatment they need sooner rather than later whether they are waiting in jail or waiting in the community."

Williams said, "The issue with overcrowding and long waiting lists at Texas state hospitals has been a issue for sometime.  The problem is there just aren't enough beds.

"All of our hospitals operate pretty much at capacity everyday," Williams said.  "The challenge that we have had along the way is space and so one of the things we have been working on is trying to come up with a plan to accommodate more patients."

Shifts and adjustments are being made to hospitals all over Texas and two facilities in Texoma are a part of the adjustments.

Williams said the plan is to take patients from the Vernon facility who are no longer dangerous and can transition to a less restricted setting.  Transferred patients will stay in an intermediate security unit with thirty-two new beds.  This will help free up room in Vernon allowing that facility to add eight new beds.

Williams said state hospitals are constantly working to evaluate what can be done for the growing number of mental health patients.

"What we have been trying to do along the way is chip away at that waiting list and try to figure out how best to get those people into treatment as soon as possible."

Patient transfers and adjustments will open up more job opportunities at state hospitals.  The Wichita Falls facility will have more than 70 job openings.

Taelor Rian, Newschannel 6. @

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