Center serving adults in acute psychiatric distress has improved
access to care in West Michigan.
The Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services Psychiatric Urgent Care Center, which opened April 15, 2019, provided services for nearly 3,000 adults experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms in the center’s first six months of operation.
The center is the first of its kind in the region. Designed to provide same-day assessment and treatment for adults who cannot wait for routine outpatient intervention, the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center has seen patients from 52 of Michigan’s 83 counties, 13 other states and Canada. The largest number of patients came from Kent County at 1,389, with Ottawa and Allegan accounting for an additional 457.
“Clearly, the center has improved access to psychiatric care and fills a gap in the local behavioral healthcare system,” said Mark Eastburg, Ph.D., President and CEO of Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.
The center currently serves adults ages 18 – 65. Forty seven percent of patients treated were ages 18-29, followed by 30-39 years old at 25 percent. Patients aged 40-49 made up 14 percent of the patient population as did those 50-65 years old. Pine Rest is committed and focused on expanding community resources in child and adolescent psychiatry in hopes of extending Psychiatric Urgent Care Center services to children and adolescents in the future.
“Having dedicated psychiatric urgent care services in West Michigan is a great first option for patients who would otherwise turn to an area emergency department or wait, sometimes a few months, before getting in to a see a provider,” said Eastburg.
The Psychiatric Urgent Care Center, paired with the existing continuum of behavioral health care available at Pine Rest and in the community, helps address a variety of problems. It provides much needed clinical services in a safe and calm environment for those experiencing acute psychiatric distress.
“I am pleased to see our community build up its mental health resources, and the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is a needed addition to the options available in Kent County,” said Nicholas Kuhl, M.D., Medical Director, Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital Emergency Department. “It’s good to know it’s being utilized.”
In the past six months, the largest patient diagnoses at the center are anxiety disorder (72 percent), major depressive disorder (55 percent), substance use disorders (20 percent) and a variety of other mental health illnesses (15 percent). Some of the individuals have a dual diagnosis.
“Pine Rest continues to be a vital partner in providing urgent care to our behavioral health patients. The new Psychiatric Urgent Care Center has opened up an additional access point for patients experiencing these acute needs working to alleviate the volumes experienced by local emergency departments,” said Nate Baar, Director of Emergency Services for Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “Continued collaborative efforts over the recent months between Pine Rest and Metro Health have further improved the work we’re doing and the care we’re providing to these patients. We look forward to seeing the growth and success of this innovative solution.”
Patients at the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center receive a variety of assessments including a level of care determination, a social work assessment, psychiatric assessment, illness education to patient and family and an aftercare plan.
“On average, most people are able to be assessed and leave the center with an aftercare plan within two hours. Providing treatment when people need it most – and in an efficient manner – can help them avoid higher levels of care that would be more disruptive to their lives,” said Megan Auffrey-Zambiasi, Director, Pine Rest Psychiatric Urgent Care Center. “We have found that 80 percent of the people we assess have avoided higher, more expensive levels of care.”
Aftercare treatment plans or the next level of care include outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization day program, residential detoxification or an appointment with the patient’s physician or therapist.
The Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is staffed by a multi-disciplinary team specifically trained to provide psychiatric assessments and treatment for a range of symptoms including depression, anxiety, panic attacks, disturbing thoughts, suicidal thoughts, acute grief reactions, trouble managing daily activities and substance use disorders. Those experiencing an acute medical issue should go to a medical urgent care or local emergency room.
The center is open for assessments 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on weekends. For shortest wait times, individuals are encouraged to call ahead or arrive in the morning.
Most commercial insurance, Medicare and Medicaid health plans cover this service. People with Medicaid coverage should call ahead because some plans require authorization for services.
For more information or to make an appointment, people can call the Pine Rest Psychiatric Urgent Care Center at 616.455.9200. For more information about the center, go to www.pinerest.org/urgent.