Behavioral Health Crisis Referral System (BH-CRSys)


The North Carolina Behavioral Health Crisis Referral System (BH-CRSys) is a secure web-based system available to professionals serving individuals experiencing behavioral health crisis.
  • Users can search for availability at appropriate placement facilities and send select referral/screening information to the potential receiving facility.
  • By providing a single location for information, a streamlined process, and mechanism to identify needs, BH-CRSys has the potential for impact at every level – from the individual seeking treatment to identifying the services needed statewide.

History & Need

On average, 150,000 patients with a primary diagnosis of a behavioral health condition (mental health, developmental disability or substance use disorder) are seen in Emergency Departments (EDs) across North Carolina each year. In 2015, approximately 30% of these patients were referred for inpatient care. 
EDs are one of many sources of referrals for inpatient care, but often have the most critical patients in need of immediate behavioral health treatment. Many inpatient facilities report being on a continuous delay, with more patient referrals than available, staffed beds. Finding an appropriate bed is different than finding an empty bed. The patient’s diagnosis, sex, medical needs and security are several of the factors that need to be considered, as the need to serve the individual in the least restrictive level of care.

Goals of the System

To develop an efficient and effective web-based behavioral health crisis referral system that will:

  • Reduce the length of time behavioral health crisis patients wait to be placed in an appropriate treatment facility. 
  • Increase efficiency and timeliness of the psychiatric inpatient bed acceptance process for both referring and receiving facilities.
  • Potentially reduce the distance a patient/family must travel for inpatient treatment.
  • Collect information to help inform the system and meet the needs of persons served.

With the goal of improving care for patients, the system is being designed and will continue to evolve based on input and feedback from the people who understand the process best.


Reduction of Time Spent Calling and Sending Records to Receiving Facilities
Referral facilities can:
  • Select specific criteria (i.e. sex, age, distance) and receive a list of potential facilities that are accepting referrals.
  • Send referral information to multiple facilities for review at a click of a button.
  • Receive an alert from the system that a response has been returned from a receiving facility instead of waiting and making multiple calls.
Reduction in Time Spent by Receiving Facilities Reviewing Referral Information
  • Fewer calls and faxes sent by referral facilities.
  • Staff receive notification when a referral is received.
  • Staff can log-in to review referral information online and communicate the response or need for additional information through the system.
A Single Access Point for Facility Information
Detailed and up-to-date profiles of participating facilities in one location that will allow users to log-in and find contact information, services and exclusions for patients that currently or will need placement in the future.


Facilities that provide services in one or more of the categories listed below may be eligible to use BH-CRSys.

Referral Facilities:

  • Emergency Departments
  • Mobile Crisis Providers
  • Behavioral Health Urgent Care Centers


Receiving Facilities:

  • Community Hospital Psychiatric Inpatient Units
  • Private Psychiatric Hospitals
  • State Psychiatric Hospitals
  • State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Centers 
  • Facility Based Crisis Centers
  • Non-hospital Medical Detoxification facilities

If you are a potential user facility that would like to learn how to participate in the system, or would like to determine if you may be an eligible facility, please send your contact information, the name of your facility and the qualifying facility-type/service you offer to

Training and Implementation

The BH-CRSys web application is currently under development. Training and roll-out will begin in the Fall of 2017. An advisory committee, made up of representatives from facilities, professional organizations and individuals with direct knowledge of the issues and processes involved, is providing ongoing guidance and feedback on both the system design, training and education needs. If you have questions or would like further information, please contact us.  


For general inquiries please contact 919-715-2066 or

Facilities that have specific questions about the program or that would like to request a presentation/meeting should contact the BH-CRSys Program Manager Krista Ragan at