Q. What types of illnesses are treated at the State Hospital?

A. Treatment is provided for individuals with serious mental illness or substance use disorders. All diagnostic groups are treated at the hospital, including many patients with dual or multiple diagnoses. Most hospital patients have experienced significant disruption in their daily lives due to the severity or longevity of their illness.

Q. What kinds of treatment are provided at the hospital?

A. Each patient has an individual treatment plan designed to assist him/her in preparing to return to community living. Many different treatments are used, including medication therapy, individual and/or group psychotherapy, addiction counseling, education, skills training, spiritual counseling, and a variety of rehabilitative services. The involvement of families in the education and treatment process is also encouraged.

Q. What is the difference between the services provided by the regional human service centers and those provided by the State Hospital?

A. The eight regional human service centers in North Dakota provide community-based treatment for individuals with mental illness or substance use disorders. These services may be provided on an outpatient residential basis. While many treatments may be similar (medication therapy, counseling, skills training, etc.), services are provided in the community setting. The State Hospital provides treatment in a more structured environment to meet the needs of those who need more intensity than community-based services can provide.

Q. Do most patients admitted to the hospital stay for a long period of time?

A. No. This is often misunderstood about treatment in the hospital, probably because many years ago State Hospital care and treatment were often very long-term. Length of stay for NDSH patients varies depending upon treatment needs but may range from just a few days for assessment and stabilization to many months for individuals with more complex treatment needs and placement difficulties.

Q. Do patients at the State Hospital pay for the treatment they receive? What if I am unable to pay for treatment?

A. The Legislature requires that the State Hospital provides for a portion of its allocated budget through the collection of payment for services. The cost of treatment is based on a daily rate that varies somewhat depending on the intensity of services required. Like other hospitals, the State Hospital submits claims to patients' insurance companies, and also receives Medicaid funding for patients under 21 or over 65 years of age. A sliding fee scale is available for individuals who do not have the resources to pay for their treatment. Hospital staff will work with patients and explain how the sliding fee scale works.

Q. How can I arrange hospitalization for someone in my family with a serious mental illness or substance use disorder?

A. North Dakota law requires that individuals voluntarily seeking treatment at the State Hospital receive screening by a behavioral health professional at their regional human service center before coming to the hospital. This "gatekeeper" function ensures that, where possible, services are provided in the least restrictive, community-based environment. Other patients may be committed involuntarily to the hospital through the court system. Individuals or their family members who believe hospitalization may be needed should first contact their regional human service center for help.

Q. What is the leadership structure of the hospital?

A. The hospital is part of the North Dakota Department of Human Services and is responsible to the senior management of that department. North Dakota law requires that a Governing Board oversee the direction and general functioning of the hospital. The superintendent is the chief executive officer of the State Hospital and has overall responsibility for fiscal and operational management. The superintendent works closely with the medical director to ensure that clinical services are appropriate and effective.

Q. How are consumers included or involved in planning or decision-making?

A. Consumer involvement is important, and the hospital’s strategic plan includes goals to continually increase consumer involvement at many levels. Currently, consumers are represented on the Governing Board of the hospital and are included in discussions concerning the type and nature of services to be offered. Consumer representatives also participate in the Patient Rights Committee, which oversees areas of patient concerns. The hospital has an active collaborative working relationship with advocacy groups such as the Mental Health Association, Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the North Dakota Protection and Advocacy Project. Patient satisfaction surveys are to ensure that consumer feedback is received and utilized for planning and problem-solving.