Screening Nursing Home Applicants for Mental Illness
SAMHSA has released a new guide to understanding Federal requirements
in screening for mental illness in nursing home applicants. Under
Federal law, all applicants for admission to a nursing facility
must be screened to identify those suspected of having a mental
illness, and those suspected of having serious mental illness must
be referred to a more indepth assessment called the Preadmission
Screening and Resident Review (PASRR).
The purpose of the PASRR screen is to determine whether a prospective
nursing facility resident requires the level of services (medical/physical)
that the nursing facility provides. Furthermore, this screen also
must determine if an applicant needs specialized mental health services.
A new PASRR assessment also is required when a nursing facility
resident's physical or mental status changes.
The PASRR program has been in place since the early 1990s, as
part of the Nursing Home Reform Act. Federal PASRR Regulations provide
some leeway in interpretation of policy to the states, resulting
in some variation in implementation. This report of PASRR policy,
prepared by SAMHSA's Center for Mental Health Services, is
based on a review and comparison of current law, regulations, and
state guidance. It is intended to help state and local authorities
and nursing facilities understand their responsibilities for ensuring
appropriate admission and treatment of individuals with mental illness
applying to and residing in nursing facilities.
To obtain a copy of the new report, Screening for Mental Illness
in Nursing Facility Applicants: Understanding Federal Requirements,
contact SAMHSA's National Mental Health Information Center at P.O.
Box 42557, Washington, DC 20015. Telephone: 1 (800) 789-CMHS
(4267), or (866) 889-2647 (TTD). The report can also be viewed at
SAMHSA's Web site at www.mentalhealth.org/publications/
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