Big Spring State Hospital is a 200-bed psychiatric hospital that provides hospitalization for people 18 years of age and older with psychiatric illnesses in a 58-county area in West Texas and the Texas South Plains. More than 2.1 million people live in this vast geographic region, which includes the major metropolitan areas of Amarillo, Lubbock, Big Spring, Abilene, Midland, Odessa and San Angelo. Big Spring State Hospital works in concert with local mental health community centers whose workers prescreen and refer people for admission. The hospital is managed by the Department of State Health Services.
The hospital was founded in 1938 and employs more than 640 employees, making it one of Big Spring's largest employers. Physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, direct care workers, social workers and nutritionists care for the patients when they are referred to the hospital for extensive psychiatric care. Patients are cared for in various hospital units, depending on the severity of their illness or their specific needs.
Big Spring State Hospital utilizes innovative approaches in the treatment of mental illness, including Animal Assisted Therapy. Animals, such as dogs, cats and rabbits are used to break the barriers of communication with patients and open up a new pathway of reaching patients who may not be communicative. Hospital therapists also recognize the strong correlation between mental illness and substance abuse and work on resolving the conflict by integrating the two diseases and their dependence on each other.
Big Spring State Hospital's mission is to promote recovery from mental illness and a rapid return to community life by providing treatment, education and hope in a safe and supportive environment. Comprehensive treatment teams comprised of the patient's overseers personally look after each patient and prepare them for life in the community. Big Spring State Hospital believes patients can achieve their optimum level of wellness by being cared for in the least restrictive environment possible. Most people stay at the hospital less than a month before moving home.
The hospital offers families visiting loved ones the use of the Don and Marilyn Newsom Family Lodge. This is especially useful to families who must travel far distances to visit with relatives.
Big Spring State Hospital has the largest corps of volunteers in Big Spring. Close to 100 men, women and children comprise the Volunteer Services Council, which raises money for patients and provides many of the small extras in which the state cannot provide. Volunteers operate The Chalet Resale shop, make gifts and bake cookies and cakes for the patients on their birthdays, and raise money for Christmas presents and a summertime party through various fund-raisers held during the year.
Employees also raise funds for hospital patients by conducting auctions of surplus and consignment items. Members of the community can sell their items on consignment, and the hospital receives a small fee for processing the sale.
Big Spring State Hospital contracts with the Veterans Administration VISN 18 of West Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to provide psychiatric hospitalization for veterans. Veterans from these areas may be admitted to Big Spring State Hospital by a formal referral from one of the seven VA Hospitals in VISN 18.
Individuals hospitalized on the VISN 18 referral contract are provided the same array of services offered to any hospital patient. Each veteran's length of stay is determined by patient need through joint agreement between the treatment team and the VA facility in which the veteran was referred.
Big Spring State Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which set standards for, and evaluates health care organizations in accordance with nationally recognized guidelines. The standards include an organization's level of performance in key functional areas such as: patient rights, patient treatment and infection control. They also focus on the hospital's ability to provide safe, high-quality care. To earn and maintain accreditation, an organization must undergo an on-site survey by a Joint Commission survey team at least every three years. BSSH was last accredited in May 2009.
Joint Commission Web Site Links For Patients and Families
File a Joint Commission complaint
Big Spring State Hospital also is certified to provide care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, who are funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the State of Texas. Big Spring State Hospital also accepts private insurance.
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