Rep. Mike Sparks Legislation Tracks Psychiatric Bed Tracking

Apr 17, 2024 at 02:15 pm by WGNS

(With Audio) Nashville, TN - The Temessee House unanimously approved legislation to help ease the burden on hospitals in Tennessee. House Bill 827, sponsored by State Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) will require the Department of Health to create a psychiatric bed tracking system for patients to more efficiently find a location for care in the Volunteer State. Sparks commented... While hospitals will have to update their bed availability, the Department of Health will be required to construct an online platform to do just that, if the governor signs-off on the bill.


Rep. Sparks of Smyrna has spent a considerable amount of time working on House Bill 827. To read last years push for this bill, Click Here. Continue reading how his concern eventually equaled the bill passing, read more below. See our example of how the online platform may appear for hospitals to view and update below. 


MORE on Today's Article: “Time and again I’ve been told a major issue hospitals face is a shortage of psychiatric beds,” Sparks said. “Emergency rooms often don’t have the space and proper resources to care for people in need of mental health care, who may require additional time and attention. This legislation will help Tennesseans more effectively find treatment while providing much-needed support and relief to hospitals.”

In some cases, Tennesseans have to wait several days for an available psychiatric bed.

House Bill 827 requires the Department of Health to create a publicly available dashboard on the department’s website displaying updated hospital bed data from the tracking system. Hospitals are not required to participate in the tracking system.

Tennessee had 550 psychiatric beds in 2023, a 9% decrease from 2016, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. Staffing issues have contributed to hospitals being unable to use all available beds.

The companion version of House Bill 827 is still advancing through the Senate. If approved, the law would take effect July 1, 2024.

State Rep. Mike Sparks represents House District 49, which includes part of Rutherford County.

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