Free Nebraska Medicine to Open Adult Psychiatric Emergency Center This Fall

Nebraska Medicine ( has announced plans to open a long-envisioned psychiatric emergency center for adults this fall in renovated space on the ground floor of Clarkson Tower, which is near 42nd Street and Dewey Avenue. The center will provide Omaha-area residents experiencing psychiatric or substance abuse issues a new emergency center geared to their needs. Traditional emergency rooms don’t always have such providers on staff, particularly overnight, which means patients may wait to start treatment. Not only is the unit expected to relieve pressure on the emergency room, it’s also anticipated that it will help keep some patients out of inpatient psychiatric beds in the community, for which there can be substantial wait times.

Currently, one in eight visits to an emergency room in the United States involves a patient with a psychiatric or substance abuse problem. Nebraska Medicine alone has seen a nearly 80% increase in people with a psychiatric crisis in its ER from 2015 to 2019, with more than 3,000 such visits just last year. Once in an ER, such patients may wait hours or even days for transfer to inpatient psychiatric facilities. With the addition of the emergency center, officials are hoping to discharge up to 80% of patients, cutting those requiring inpatient care to as low as 20%.

The unit will feature four interview and triage rooms where patients can be assessed as well as an open observation area with capacity for 12 moderate-risk patients. Those could include patients with suicidal thoughts or manic symptoms from bipolar disorder. In addition, the unit will include a secure-care area with six private rooms where providers can stabilize patients at high risk of harming themselves or others or who are too agitated to be around other patients while they await transfer to an appropriate facility.

Nebraska Medicine, which does not have its own inpatient psychiatric beds, is working closely with CHI Health, which operates Immanuel, and other providers in the community to make sure it can efficiently admit patients who need inpatient care. Learn more at