Sunwave Health for Behavioral Health Admissions

While most patients are eventually thankful that they made the decision to enter behavioral health treatment, it can be scary to begin the treatment process. Many patients who are beginning the process of admission to a behavioral health facility go back and forth with deciding whether they’re ready to seek treatment, and it can be tough for an admissions department at a behavioral health facility to help patients through this process when they’re also dealing with verifying insurance and getting treatment authorization from the patient’s insurance company.

At Sunwave Health, we’re dedicated to providing behavioral healthcare facilities with the software necessary to streamline the admission process, making it easier for patients to get into treatment and begin the process of getting well.

Why is it tough for some behavioral health patients to begin the treatment process?

Behavioral healthcare admissions can be tricky. Many potential patients are dealing with mental health issues that make it tough for them to begin the treatment process. People who are dealing with substance use disorder, for example, may feel that they can white-knuckle their way through detox to begin the recovery process, even though repeated attempts to quit may have proven otherwise. People who are dealing with clinical depression or an anxiety disorder may feel that if they work hard enough, they’ll be able to make it to recovery on their own. Many patients who are dealing with mental health issues deeply want to get well, but struggle to take the first step of checking into a behavioral health facility to get the help they need to work through their diagnosis.

During the admissions process, it’s key that staff members continually reach patients to provide them the encouragement and support that they need to begin the treatment process. If the admissions team is not able to reach the patient for a day or more, it’s likely that the patient will either go somewhere else for treatment or not enter treatment at all. It’s important that admissions staff members communicate with patients in a way that causes as little stress as possible and demonstrates that the facility can offer the support they need to get well.

Qualifying Patients Prior to the Start of Treatment

Before admitting a patient to a behavioral health facility, the admissions team needs to learn whether the patient has the means to pay for treatment. If the patient is not paying for treatment out of pocket, this means that the admissions staff needs to reach out to the insurance company for Verification of Benefits (VoB).

Most VoB cannot be done electronically, so a staff member needs to contact an insurance company to learn more about coverage. After speaking with the insurance company, the benefits are verified, and the admissions staff can move forward with getting authorization for the patient’s behavioral health treatment.

What is treatment authorization?

Treatment authorization follows the VoB process. The utilization review team processes the request for treatment and decides whether behavioral healthcare will be covered for the patient. If the request for treatment is approved and the patient is cleared for treatment, the admissions team can begin the behavioral health intake process.

Behavioral Health Intake Process

After a patient commits to attending treatment, the intake scheduling process begins. During a behavioral health intake, the admissions staff works to fully understand the needs of the patient and gather information about medical and behavioral history. It’s important that behavioral health facilities wait until a patient is officially slated for treatment to begin scheduling the intake process.

While some patients can immediately begin talking to admissions staff members about intake, others need medical treatment prior to answering intake questions. Some behavioral health facilities offer the medical care that patients need within the facility, while others work with area hospitals or detox centers to offer medical services needed before the recovery process begins.

Getting Patients to Treatment

It’s important that behavioral healthcare facilities work closely with patients to ensure that they physically make it to their first day of treatment. Walking through the doors of the treatment facility can be particularly tough for people who are reluctant to begin treatment, and it’s key for the facility to make it as simple as possible.

Some behavioral healthcare facilities coordinate travel arrangements for patients. This may involve scheduling flights, arranging transportation from the patient’s home to the airport, or picking the patient up from the airport and driving them to the treatment facility. In other instances, this may involve working with family members to ensure patients arrive on time for transportation to treatment.

From the First Phone Call to Day One of Treatment

Throughout the entire process–from the initial outreach to coordinating travel–it’s key that the admissions staff stay in regular contact with the patient and anyone else involved in his or her care. Failure to do so can make it easy for the patient to decide that it’s not the right time to begin the treatment process.

It’s essential that behavioral healthcare facilities have a streamlined process in place that allows staff to remain in constant contact with patients. This doesn’t just help the facility–it also provides patients and their loved ones with peace of mind that they will be well taken care of once they begin treatment at the facility.

Ready to streamline your admissions process? We're here to help.

At Sunwave Health, we know that your facility cares about your patients, and we’re here to help you tighten up your admissions process to make it easier for patients to begin day one of treatment. Reach out to us today to learn more.