Process improvement for behavioral health

Add Beds or Provide Housing


There are not enough beds to meet demand for residential treatment.


Add beds or provide housing to increase capacity.

Featured Stories

Perinatal Treatment Services in Seattle, Washington increased the number of licensed beds from 26 to 30, putting the additional beds in the larger rooms. These “swing-beds” are used to admit a client before someone else was discharged, which minimized open beds. They asked the Department of Health for approval to increase the number of licensed beds. If they found that they were under-utilizing their contract, they tried to keep all of the beds filled.

St. Christopher’s Inn in Garrison, New York increased from 135 to 153 beds with a potential revenue increase of $68,000 per year (assuming 18 additional beds with 65 percent of men entering treatment for 58 days at $100 per day). They provide a homeless shelter where men live before deciding to enter residential treatment. In order to create more beds to meet demand for services, they converted a clothing room into a dorm room with 18 beds.

WASTAR in Reno, Nevada provides housing for clients in the intensive outpatient program.

Lessons Learned

  • Look for spaces that could be converted into rooms for more beds.
  • Arrange for housing and provide outpatient services.

Tracking Measures

Cycle Measure

Number of available beds

Data Collection Form

NextAvailableAppointmentTrackingSpreadsheet (2)



  • 1. Collect baseline data for the waiting time for the next available bed.


  • 2. Explore your space to find possible places that could be converted to bedrooms.
  • 3. Track and calculate the waiting time for the next available bed.


  • 4. Check the fidelity of the change. Was the change implemented as planned?
  • 5. Evaluate the change:
    • Did the waiting time decrease?
    • Were the accommodations acceptable?
    • Did admissions increase?


  • 6. Adjust the accommodations if needed and/or explore other places that might be used to provide housing.

Repeat this series of steps until adequate housing is available to meet the demand for beds.