High-acuity publicly funded inpatient psychiatric settings usually feature short lengths of stay and high readmission rates. This study examined the influence of an early intervention program for serious mental illnesses (SMI) on readmissions at 6 and 12 months postdischarge at a high-volume, urban public inpatient psychiatric hospital.
The Early Onset Treatment Program (EOTP) is a cost-free, 90-day inpatient multidisciplinary service intervention program for uninsured patients who are within 5 years of SMI onset, funded as a pilot program by the Texas state legislature. Rehospitalization rates at 6 and 12 months were extracted from electronic medical records for EOTP participants (n=165) and comparison patients matched on demographics and diagnosis (n=155). The comparison group received treatment as usual at the same psychiatric hospital. Group re-admission rates were compared using logistic and Poisson regression analyses.
Group membership was a significant predictor of rehospitalization (P<0.0001) at both 6 and 12 months. Expressed as 1/odds ratio (OR), the EOTP group was less likely to readmit once and more than once at 6 months postdischarge (1/OR=3.82 and 4.74, respectively) compared with the non-EOTP group. The EOTP group was also less likely to readmit once and more than once at 12 months postdischarge (1/OR=2.96 and 3.51, respectively).
The results suggest that participation in the EOTP service in this high-acuity setting was significantly related to reduced likelihood of rehospitalization at 6 and 12 months. Several variables may account for this observation, including length of stay, longer medication adherence, environmental stability, and more individualized and extensive psychotherapy treatment.