Twelve counties—including Guilford, Rockingham and Forsyth—-will be able to bill the state for transporting mental patients in an effort to get them proper care instead of treating such patients in hospital emergency rooms:
State lawmakers in this year’s budget allocated $225,000 for a yearlong pilot project to gather data on the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of direct transport.
DHHS officials found an additional $264,000 from federal mental-health and substance-abuse block grants to match those funds and next year will report back to the state with the results of its project.
As of Dec. 15, EMS agencies could submit bills for new transports but also retroactively bill for trips dating back to July 1. Agencies can request reimbursement from the state until funds run out, though neither the governor’s office nor DHHS specified the amount available.
Hopefully ER doctors will be able to make quick and accurate diagnoses of patients with mental problems.