New state-of-the-art behavioral health-care facilities to open in Augustby Pima County News on Aug. 02, 2011, under Health, Pima County, Southern Arizona
Two new crisis intervention and treatment facilities scheduled to open in mid-August on Pima County’s Kino Campus will improve dramatically the availability of emergency medical and behavioral health-care services in Southern Arizona. The state-of-the-art Behavioral Health Pavilion and Crisis Response Center will provide coordinated services and a continuum of care for anyone in Pima County experiencing a medical emergency or behavioral health crisis.
The new facilities, funded by voter-approved Pima County bond initiatives in 2004 and 2006, were made possible by a partnership among Pima County, University Physicians Healthcare (UPH), Community Partnership of Southern Arizona (CPSA) and the University of Arizona (UA) College of Medicine.
“Pima County has long recognized that integrating behavioral and medical health-care is necessary to achieve a more efficient and comprehensive system of care for our constituents, particularly those with mental illness,” said Ramón Valadez, chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors. “These new facilities, made possible by the support of the voters and a unique public/private partnership, will make that vision a reality.”
The Behavioral Health Pavilion (BHP), operated by UPH and staffed by UA College of Medicine faculty, is a state-of-the-art facility where patients can access immediate care and assessment in a new emergency department, utilize psychiatric inpatient services or be referred to the outpatient psychiatry clinic. Patients admitted through the legal system are able to conveniently access a co-located Pima County Superior Court during their stay in the BHP.
“This new facility provides much-needed access to enhanced mental health services in Southern Arizona,” said Patricia Harrison-Monroe, PhD, chief of behavioral health services at UPH Hospital. “Not only will it offer high-quality, state-of-the-art consultation, evaluation and treatment, it will play an important role in the hospital’s psychiatric residency program, training more physicians to meet the ever-growing health-care needs of Arizona.”
The UA College of Medicine – Tucson, which currently trains 98 new physicians on the Kino Campus, will use the facilities to train future community psychiatrists in an enhanced learning environment. The 20 psychiatry residents will have the unique opportunity to train not only in traditional inpatient and outpatient settings at the BHP but also in the crisis stabilization and short-term services offered in the Crisis Response Center (CRC).
The CRC will provide assessment, stabilization and treatment to youth and adults in crisis who do not require emergency medical care. The CRC also houses a 24-hour community-wide crisis call center staffed by licensed counselors and social workers as well as onsite service-provider representatives to coordinate care with community resources. CPSA, which has administered the public behavioral health-care system in Pima County for 16 years, will oversee the CRC.
“We’re pleased to be opening the Crisis Response Center, which is the keystone to CPSA’s crisis-care system enhancements of the past two years,” said Neal Cash, president and CEO of CPSA. “The CRC will provide an important new resource for everyone in Pima County. With the drastic state funding cuts for behavioral health-care, far fewer people are receiving ongoing care for their illness. That makes the need for a strong crisis-care system more critical than ever.”
Connected by a secure breezeway for safe and easy patient transfer, the two facilities will work together to provide care tailored to meet an individual’s needs. This innovative approach to behavioral health treatment will provide critical relief to overcrowded emergency departments, inpatient psychiatric units and juvenile and adult detention centers, where until now patients in crisis routinely have been brought by law enforcement, first responders and family members.
The facilities also will refer individuals with mental health issues to primary care physicians on the Kino Campus for preventive and medical condition management. This integrated and collaborative model of care aims to mitigate the fact that individuals with serious mental illness on average die 25 years before their counterparts due to a lack of access to medical care.
“This full-service health campus will provide comprehensive medical services and behavioral health crisis care around the clock to anyone in need of assistance,” said Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. “These essential new resources will not only improve and streamline behavioral health-care delivery in Pima County, they will also allow other community operations, such as emergency departments and detention centers, to function more efficiently.”
The pioneering facilities, which were designed by the architectural firm Cannon Design with input from behavioral health and medical care experts, law enforcement, families and potential consumers, already have become a model for behavioral health-care in other states.