Psychiatry in the Emergency Department
Please call 911 or contact your nearest emergency room.
Johns Hopkins Psychiatric Inpatient Admissions Line: 410-955-5104
Johns Hopkins Psychiatric Emergency Department 410-955-5964
Attention Health Professionals: Working with the Emergency Department for Health Professionals
For Patients and Families
Director: Patrick T. Triplett, M.D.
The Emergency Department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital functions primarily as a trauma center in a busy, urban setting. Evaluating and treating patients with psychiatric emergencies is part of the Department’s responsibilities but coming to the Emergency Department is not necessarily a direct path to inpatient psychiatric care in the Hospital. There is often a waiting list for inpatient psychiatric beds and the Hospital does not participate with many insurance plans for payment. Ideally, a patient is referred by the treating physician for admission to the Hospital through the Psychiatry Admissions Office. We do not advise referral to our Emergency Department for routine care or evaluation.
The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has numerous clinics and outpatient programs that evaluate and treat a wide variety of psychiatric conditions. Please review our Specialty Areas section for details and contacts. Physicians, patients, or families may contact the Psychiatry Admissions Office at (410) 955-5104 for additional information on prearranged admissions to the inpatient services.
Instructions for Patients and Families
In the event that your psychiatrist or other physician advises you to come to The Johns Hopkins Hospital Emergency Department prior to a psychiatric admission in order to receive medical and/or acute psychiatric stabilization and evaluation, please review the following recommendations designed to minimize lengthy stays in the Emergency Department:
- Be sure that your physician has contacted the Emergency Department directly at 410-955-5964 prior to your arrival.
- Bring copies of any legal documents that may be important during a hospitalization, (e.g. advance directives for medical or mental health decisions, living wills, power of attorney).
- Bring copies of records from outside hospitals, outpatient clinics, and physicians, if you have them.
- Always check your insurance information. The Department of Psychiatry at The Johns Hopkins Hospital does not participate in many insurance plans even if they contain coverage for mental health services or coverage for medical and surgical care at Johns Hopkins. We suggest that you call your insurance company to verify your coverage. Be sure to ask if their mental health benefits are accepted by Johns Hopkins Hospital and if they cover BOTH hospital and physician fees. A substantial deposit may be required before admission to an inpatient unit when insurance does not cover Johns Hopkins psychiatric admissions or when patients are paying for their own care. In situations where a patient’s insurance cannot be used here and the patient cannot personally pay for care, then inpatient admission to another facility may have to be arranged. This process can greatly prolong the patient’s stay in the Emergency Department.
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Note: Space limitations in the Emergency Department often make it difficult for family members to accompany patients to the psychiatric emergency services area. There is a separate area near the waiting room where members of the psychiatric team meet with families.