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Psychiatric Hospital Admission Criteria

Prior to admission LMEs/MCOs will ensure, primarily via coordination with Emergency Departments, that individuals meet admission criteria and that state hospitals are the most appropriate sites for treatment.  The individual must be assessed as meeting the diagnostic criteria (as defined by the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM), for (1) acute schizophrenia and/or other psychotic disorders, (2) acute mood disorders or (3) the combination of both, with or without medical and/or physical complications that are within the parameters of what the state hospital can manage.

Locate the Hospital for Your County

Locate the LME/MCO for your County

Referral Process

The Regional Referral Form for Admission to a State Psychiatric Hospital or ADATC (PDF, 82KB) is faxed to the hospital’s Screening and Admissions Office, along with the following minimal required medical records needed to make a determination:

  • Same day assessment and treatments performed by staff
  • Psychiatric consultations
  • Current medications and dosages with estimate of compliance
  • Allergies
  • Copy of diagnostic procedure reports including labs, X-Rays, Scans, etc.
  • Medical conditions/diagnoses and current assessment of stability
  • List of problems requiring follow-up (including lab abnormalities, pregnancy, etc.)
  • Up to last three days of progress notes
  • Correctly completed and processed involuntary commitment (IVC) forms (avoid emergency petitions).  Note: These forms must be in compliance with HB243.

After the referral information is screened for appropriateness, the state hospital’s Screening and Admissions Office will provide an admission time, pending bed availability.  In some cases, there may be a waiting list because the hospital is on “delay” status.  This means that the hospital has reached its capacity and can no longer accept admissions.  If the individual is accepted for evaluation, he/she will be placed on the waiting list until a bed is available.  In the meantime, the LME/MCO continues to collaborate with the Emergency Department and monitor the stabilization of the individual as he/she may eventually be able to be released from the IVC status and be placed elsewhere.  Secondary/back-up plans should always be in place.

Diversion: SB 859

SB 859, also known as the Diversion Law, prohibits the admission of an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), or a reasonable suspicion of such, and a co-occurring mental illness, to any of the North Carolina state psychiatric hospitals unless the individual meets specific criteria:

    1. Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (G.S. 15A-1321)
    2. Has committed a violent offense and has been deemed by the court as Incapable of Proceeding to Trial (G.S. 122C-266(b))
    3. Extremely dangerous to others
    4. Has multiple disorders and is medically fragile or has multiple disorders and is deaf.

LMEs/MCO granting an exception to the criteria must try to arrange an admission to a non-state hospital.  If an admission to a non-state hospital cannot be arranged and the person qualifies for an exception, a Worksheet for Exceptions must be completed and faxed to the appropriate state psychiatric hospital.


Locate the Hospital for Your County

Referrals are sent via the LME/MCO

Broughton Hospital - Morganton,
Phone 828-433-2071
Fax 828-433-2082
Counties and LMEs/MCOs Served: Mecklenburg; Mental Health Partners: Burke, Catawba; Western Highlands LME/MCO: Buncombe, Madison, Mitchell, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania, Yancey;  Crossroads: Iredell, Surry, Yadkin;  Piedmont Behavioral Health(PBH) LME/MCO: Cabarrus, Davidson, Rowan, Stanly, Union;  Smoky Mountain LME/MCO:  Ashe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Alexander, Avery, Caldwell, McDowell, Watauga;   Pathways LME/MCO: Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln

Central Regional Hospital - Butner
Phone 919-764-2607 
Fax 919-764-7420
Counties and LMEs/MCOs Served: CenterPoint: Davie, Forsythe, Stokes; A-C-R LME/MCO: Alamance, Caswell, Rockingham; OPC LME/MCO: Orange, Person, Chatham; 5-County LME/MCO:  Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Vance, Warren; Sandhills LME/MCO:  Anson, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph, Richmond; Guilford LME/MCO;  Durham LME/MCO

Cherry Hospital - Goldsboro
Phone 919-731-3326 
Fax 919-731-3793

Counties and LMEs/MCOs Served: South Eastern Regional (SER) LME/MCO: Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, Scotland; Southeastern Center LME/MCO:  Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender; Eastpointe: Duplin, Lenoir, Sampson, Wayne; Cumberland LME/MCO: Johnston LME/MCO; Onslow-Carteret LME/MCO; Beacon Center LME/MCO:  Edgecombe, Greene, Nash, Wilson;  East Carolina Behavioral Health (ECBH) LME/MCO: Beaufort, Bertie, Craven, Gates  Hertford, Jones, Northampton, Pitt, Pamlico; Albermarle LME/MCO: Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Hyde Martin, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington Ready NC Connect NC