The center is designed to provide immediate assessment and treatment for people experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms who cannot wait for routine outpatient intervention.
Currently, there are no dedicated psychiatric urgent care services in West Michigan, forcing many patients into area emergency departments. This puts pressure on emergency departments to “board” psychiatric patients before they can be assessed and referred to an appropriate facility or provider for treatment. This delays treatment and increases costs.
“A Psychiatric Urgent Care Center, paired with the existing continuum of behavioral health care available at Pine Rest and in the community, will help to address these problems,” said Pine Rest President and CEO, Mark Eastburg, Ph.D. “As the comprehensive behavioral health provider in West Michigan, we’re well-qualified to step in and fill this growing need.”
In 2016, Grand Rapids area hospitals had 14,623 visits to their emergency departments, with behavioral health care being the primary need.
“We are pleased to partner with Pine Rest to find solutions and address behavioral health issues in our community. The new Pine Rest Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is an innovative, much-needed step in creating greater access to psychiatric care – a critical component in caring for people at the right time and at the right place,” said Spectrum Health President & CEO Tina Freese Decker”.
After extensive community research, including interviews with area health system leaders, emergency departments, specialty hospitals, ambulance services and law enforcement agencies about the issue of access to behavioral health care and the increasing problem of emergency department boarding of psychiatric patients, Pine Rest is taking steps to meet this urgent community need.
This project is scheduled to begin as a pilot, utilizing current space in the Contact Center on the Pine Rest Cutlerville Campus. Initially, the pilot will serve adults 18 years and older. It will be open for assessments seven days a week and will accept commercial, Medicaid health plans and Medicare insurances.
Most psychiatric symptoms could be assessed in this facility provided the problem is psychiatric in nature and not due to a significant medical issue. The Psychiatric Urgent Care Center will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team specifically trained to provide psychiatric assessments.
This is expected to be Phase I of Pine Rest efforts to expand services and help alleviate emergency department boarding challenges throughout West Michigan. Pine Rest will use outcomes and data from the pilot to assess the feasibility of expanding services to children, adolescents and seniors.
“The Psychiatric Urgent Care Center will fill a service gap that currently exists in West Michigan,” stated Megan Zambiasi, Director of the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center. “It is expected to dramatically reduce wait times for psychiatric assessments and will provide much needed clinical services in a safe and calm environment for those experiencing acute psychiatric distress.”