TROY — Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) announced that it will suspend operation of the UVMC child and adolescent inpatient behavioral health unit, effective Sept. 30. The suspension of operation is a result of UVMC’s current child and adolescent inpatient psychiatrist leaving to relocate back to Detroit.
“Despite significant dedicated efforts to recruit additional inpatient child/adolescent psychiatry practitioners over the past several years, we have not been able to find a replacement at this time,” said Becky Rice, UVMC president and CEO. Therefore, with much regret, we are forced to suspend operation of our 18-bed unit for an undetermined period of time until we can successfully recruit a qualified psychiatrist for that role.
“UVMC has been committed to providing quality inpatient behavioral health services for youth in our region for the past three decades,” Rice added. “However, a crisis shortage of inpatient child/adolescent psychiatrists at the national level has resulted in a lack of qualified medical practitioners essential to the safe operation of an inpatient unit.”
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has reported that 43 of the states in the U.S., including Ohio and surrounding states, have a severe shortage of practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists.
“We have been working with the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) and the other Dayton hospital systems on a community solution to this issue” Rice said. “Those collective efforts will continue.”
She added that UVMC will continue recruitment efforts for an inpatient child and adolescent psychiatrist as a top priority in hopes of being able to re-open the unit at some point in the future.
At this time, a number of alternative inpatient child and adolescent service sites are located in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo, and Akron; and one provider of adolescent services only is located in Dayton. A list of inpatient providers is available by calling (937) 440-4238.