I want to have my loved one transferred to another inpatient facility. What are my options?

It can be difficult for family members to get their loved one transferred from one inpatient facility to another. If a public facility is providing and funding their care (e.g., a state hospital), you will have limited leverage to request a transfer. A course of action may be to contact the state mental health agency or the local agency responsible for mental health care in the county to explore options that may be available.

If your loved one’s care at a private facility is covered by private insurance, you may be able to work with the insurance company to request a transfer, especially if you can make the case that transferring your loved one to a facility closer to home will improve treatment outcomes and potentially reduce costs. Typically, this will be limited to intermediate care facilities, such as residential treatment centers (RTCs). You might want to contact your insurance company to explore the possibility of a transfer using the insurance company’s grievance/appeals process. However, even this will not be easy, and the difficulties are compounded by the overall lack of available inpatient beds.  

If there is evidence of mistreatment (e.g. overuse of restraint or neglect or failure to get medical care), or abuse, in the facility where your loved one is currently being treated, then the transfer may be more possible. You may wish to contact your state’s mental health authority and/or your state’s protection and advocacy agency; they are responsible under federal law for investigating allegations of abuse and neglect. You may also wish to contact the patient advocacy department at the hospital (if one exists). 

Finally, as a last resort, you can contact the local field office of your U.S. or state representative, as an inquiry from a congressional office can sometimes spur positive action.   

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