Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital’s psychiatric inpatient ward, closed March 29 due to the lack of a certified psychiatrist, reopened Tuesday, and five of six patients transferred to St. Thomas have been safely discharged and returned to St. Croix, according to the hospital.
When the psychiatrist overseeing the small, emergency in-patient unit left the territory, Juan Luis transferred the six patients then in the ward to Roy L. Schneider Regional Medical Center, sending its psychiatric clinical nursing team with the patients to assist with their care.
At the time, any patients arriving at the Luis Emergency Department in need of psychiatric treatment were to be stabilized and transferred to Schneider.
The hospital has now hired a temporary psychiatrist and entered into what it describes as "a coverage relationship with a local JFLH staff psychiatrist," according to a statement from Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, Luis Hospital vice president of support services. The psychiatric unit will be reopening as a 2-bed inpatient service, which historically has been the average daily patient census.
The hospital is also working with the V.I. Department of Health to address concerns expressed at recent town meetings with Juan Luis’ new Chief Executive Officer Jeff Nelson about the lack of chronic and acute mental health care services on St. Croix.
"The goal is to address the continuum of care by improving the access and efficiency of mental health services for individuals in the community," Simmonds-Emmanuel said in the statement.