Commonwealth Health Opens First Crisis Center in Region
Commitment to Providing Behavioral Health Resources Grows
WILKES-BARRE, Pa., July 25, 2013 – On August 1, Commonwealth Health will open the Crisis Response and Recovery Center in collaboration with the Northeast Behavioral HealthCare Consortium (NBHCC), Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, county and state agencies. This is the first center in the region that will provide rapid stabilization for individuals who are experiencing mental health or substance abuse crises.
“Commonwealth Health is committed to serving the behavioral health needs of Northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Beth Hollinger, LCSW, director of the Center. “This Center will improve access to behavioral health resources in our region, reduce overcrowding in EDs and lower costs associated with treatment.”
Individuals in crisis who do not have ready access to support and crisis intervention services frequently contact police or go to a hospital emergency department. Each month, the ED at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital alone sees more than 400 individuals in crisis.
The Center is an alternative point of access for adults in crisis who are experiencing symptoms that may be associated with depression, anxiety, situation-based response to crisis, mood disturbance, medication non-compliance, cognitive impairment, intellectual disability or for those seeking recovery from the consequences of drugs and alcohol.
With 24/7 access, adults can be promptly triaged or evaluated over time and can stay up to five days to be stabilized. Such short-term stabilization has been shown to reduce the need for hospitalization and facilitate a quicker return to families and community-based services.
“The Center offers a collaborative support system of caregivers, families and peer support to individuals seeking behavioral health resources,” said Jim Gallagher, CEO, NBHCC. “The result is guiding individuals toward recovery while keeping them safe and preparing them to re-enter the community.”
How to Access
The Center will be operated as a community-based program on the campus of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. Individuals in crisis can access the Center’s resources through referrals, like those from behavioral health professionals, local EDs and EMS. Adults or their family members may also contact the
Center resources include an eight-bed unit, crisis triage area with capacity for up to 30 adults, onsite crisis workers, physicians and case managers, space for group and family meetings, plus information, social welfare help and other resources.
“This Center is designed to support consumers and family members as they seek assistance in responding to crises,” said Tina Wydeen, regional director of Community Care. “We look forward to continued collaboration that will enhance access and promote recovery in ways that weren’t available before.”
Start-up funding to establish the Center comes from reinvestment dollars managed by NBHCC and Community Care, authorized by the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services of Pennsylvania. Ongoing funding will be supported through an established rate with Community Care, a company within the UPMC Insurance Services Division.
Commonwealth Health provides a comprehensive system of behavioral health services for individuals and families living with psychiatric or substance abuse disorders through First Hospital and its affiliates Community Counseling Services and CHOICES programs for addiction; Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton and Berwick Hospital in Berwick.
From left: Rick McCarty, Director, Facilities, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital; Don Flynn, Berkavich Design Associates; Lynn Patrone, Department of Public Welfare; Pamela Tahan, COO, Regional Hospital; Mark Schor, CEO, First Hospital; Kelly Petherick, Director, Community Counseling Services; Beth Hollinger, Supervisor, Crisis & Case Management; Cornelio Catena, CEO, Commonwealth Health; Beth Orr, CCBH; Jim Gallagher, NBHCC; and Dr. Richard Silbert, CCBH.