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Processes for Referral to a Regional Mental Health Institute

All admissions to the State’s Regional Mental Health Institutes (RMHIs) are subject to the availability of suitable accommodations (i.e., an appropriate bed). This means that admissions to a RMHI will be delayed if the facility does not have such a bed. Thus, transportation to a RMHI should not occur without written verification that an appropriate bed is available at the RMHI.

Given the current overall bed capacity of the RMHIs, we do not anticipate difficulties in accessing a bed within the RMHI system. However, there may be times during which there may be delays in accessing a RMHI bed at a particular facility; the Department of Mental Health (DMH) is committed to making every effort possible to minimize such delays.

Under the new law, the following changes will occur in the process for referring a person to a RMHI.

Referral Process:

  • Before referring a person to a RMHI, the referral source should contact the RMHI’s Admission Office to determine whether there is a suitable available bed.
  • If the RMHI has bed availability, the RMHI will provide a confirmation number to the referral source.
  • If the RMHI does not have an available bed, the RMHI will offer to contact the other RMHIs to determine if there is a bed available elsewhere in the state.
  • If another RMHI has an available bed, the referral source will be put in contact with that RMHI.
  • If there are no beds available at the other RMHIs or if the referral source declines the alternate referral, the RMHI will place the person on its waiting list.
  • Before a person is placed on a waiting list, the referral source must provide contact information in order to be notified of the first available bed.
  • Each RMHI will maintain waiting lists for persons referred from its catchment area.
  • No person may be on the waiting lists for more than one RMHI.
  • As beds become available, they will be offered to persons in the order in which they were placed on a waiting list.
  • RMHIs will work their waiting lists on a daily basis and continue to check for bed availability at the other RMHIs to minimize the length of time a person waits for RMHI services.
  • When a bed becomes available the RMHI will contact the referral source and provide a confirmation number which is to be give to the transportation agent.
  • Once a confirmation number is provided, the referral source will give the transportation agent a written statement verifying bed availability at the RMHI.
  • If a transportation agent fails to provide the RMHI the written statement verifying bed availability (along with other required admission documents) then the cost of hospitalization will be charged to the transporting county.
  • Verification of bed availability does not guarantee admission to the RMHI.
  • All admissions are still dependent on the person meeting admission criteria.
  • The RMHI may also still refuse to admit a person who requires immediate medical attention and medical treatments/services which the RMHI is unable to provide.

*Contact Information for the Regional Mental Health Institutes

Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, Nashville – Admissions Office Phone Number –
(615) 902 - 7672
Western Mental Health Institute, Bolivar – Admissions Office Phone Number –
Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, Chattanooga – Admissions Office Phone Number –
(423) 785 - 3358
Memphis Mental Health Institute, Memphis – Admissions Office Phone Number –
(901) 577 - 1873

RMHI Referral Processes Links