Statewide behavioral health coordination in Oregon


23 Dec 2022

GE HealthCare is part of a collaborative effort to develop a real-time capacity management tool to help coordinate statewide behavioral health services. Called the Oregon Behavioral Health Coordination Center (OBCC), this enhanced infrastructure will improve care access for patients and support care providers.

The technology will give the OBCC visibility to patients who are in emergency departments waiting for an inpatient bed; patients with current medical needs who will need behavioral health care; and patients who need community resources so they can be discharged from the hospital.

Supported by both state and federal funding, this project is a continuation of efforts that began at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Then, a statewide capacity management system was developed and deployed in just 3 weeks. That effort evolved into the Oregon Medical Coordination Center (OMCC), which has been integral to managing patient surges related to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses as well as care coordination during natural disasters.

“Our OMCC team was an essential resource to clinicians all over the state as we faced a historic crisis in our hospitals,” said Matthias Merkel, M.D., Ph.D., OHSU senior associate chief medical officer for capacity management and patient flow. “We demonstrated how coordinated information sharing can save lives, by, for example, saving a bed at OHSU for a critically ill patient coming in from a rural hospital.”

“The OBCC will do the same for behavioral health patients,” he said. “It will ensure clinicians have a full picture of available resources as they work to help someone in mental health crisis. These coordination efforts are an important investment for the health of Oregonians.”