If you are seeking admission for yourself or a loved one and are in crisis, please call 911 immediately. If you would like to seek admission or discuss whether inpatient hospitalization is appropriate, please contact your Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA). You may search for your LMHA at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhservices-search/.
If you are with a community-based agency or medical hospital, referring someone for admission, please go through the LMHA in your area to make the referral for admission. You may search for your LMHA at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhservices-search/.
If you are referring someone for admission that is currently being treated at an inpatient psychiatric facility, please contact Courtney Gehrer (Admission Social Worker) for assistance in contacting the LMHA responsible for the person’s care and referral for transfer. Courtney Gehrer: 512-419-2114 or Courtney.Gehrer@dshs.state.tx.us.
Role of Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs)
DSHS has designated Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) within each of the local service areas. An MHA is defined as the "entity designated by the department to direct, operate, facilitate, or coordinate such services to mentally ill persons as are required to be performed at the local level by state law and by the department." MHAs are charged with the responsibility of effecting continuity of community-based services for patients from their local area. Each state facility works with designated MHAs within its service area.
The appropriate LMHA first screens patients seeking admission to the hospital to determine the least restrictive treatment environment. This includes individuals served by private providers. The LMHA, as a single portal authority, and in collaboration with the judiciary, has the final authority on who may be referred to ASH for possible admission. The LMHA communicates pertinent information to the facility, including patient identifying information, legal status, medical and medication information, behavioral data, and other treatment information.
If a person seeks admission without prior screening by the LMHA, Austin State Hospital conducts an emergency medical screening, in compliance with EMTALA and in consult with the LMHA. The admissions physician has the final authority as to admission of an individual, consistent with resources available at the hospital. All patients sent to the facility through court commitments are evaluated for admission. In general, the criteria for involuntary admission include the presence of symptoms of mental illness and the need for treatment for the welfare and protection of the patient or the protection of others.
The appropriate LMHA routinely screens all requests for voluntary admission to ensure hospitalization is the least restrictive treatment alternative. No person is denied voluntary admission without thorough documentation and appropriate referral, as recommended by the screening physician.
What to Expect during Admission Process
The Admissions Department is open 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Admitting procedures include completing an initial psychiatric evaluation, a nursing assessment, initiating a patient record, and taking an identification photograph for the record. We provide the booklet Your Rights in Facilities of Department of State Health Services to all incoming patients along with an Admitting Rights Packet. All patient belongings and money are accounted for.
IMPORTANT: We encourage families to take home valuables and other items not necessary during hospitalization. Valuables are kept at the facility at the patients’/families’ own risk.
If possible, patients should bring a maximum five changes of clothing, including comfortable items such as sports shoes, loose fitting clothing that is easily laundered, and comfortable sleeping attire.
For the protection of both patients and staff, the Admissions staff conducts a search of both incoming patients and all their personal property to ensure any and all personal items posing a potential danger to the patient or others are removed and held for safekeeping.
Assessment of Patients
The physician assigned to admission duty provides an admission psychiatric evaluation, physical assessment, and admitting orders. Upon arrival to the appropriate treatment program, a physical examination is completed within 24 hours. Admission procedures include TB skin testing, appropriate laboratory tests, and other diagnostics. Staff conduct a dental screening, address the patient's past medical history and the need for any special precautions, and complete a psychiatric evaluation, nursing assessment, rehabilitation assessment, and social history. Assessments are culturally sensitive and appropriate. With the patient's permission, a treatment team representative, usually the social worker, initiates contact with the patient's family or significant others. Patients are encouraged to include family members and/or significant others in their treatment, as appropriate.
Please contact for all routine admissions/referrals
4110 Guadalupe St.
Austin, Texas 78751
Admission Social Worker
Courtney Gehrer, - 512-419-2114