Health Care and Real Estate

Behavioral health provider plans urgent care center

October 31, 2018
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Pine Rest
Grand Rapids-based Pine Rest, founded in 1910, is a behavioral health provider that also operates outpatient locations across West Michigan. Courtesy Pine Rest

An urgent care center for mental health is being planned by a local provider of behavioral health care.

Cutlerville-based Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services said yesterday it will open a psychiatric urgent care center next spring.

The center will be designed to provide immediate assessment and treatment for people experiencing acute psychiatric symptoms who cannot wait for routine outpatient intervention.

There are no dedicated psychiatric urgent care services in West Michigan, forcing many patients into emergency departments, according to Pine Rest. Not being in a proper facility delays treatment and increases costs.

The center, along with a continuum of behavioral health care, will help to address these problems, said Pine Rest President and CEO Mark Eastburg. 

In 2016, Grand Rapids area emergency departments had 14,623 visits, with behavioral health care being the primary need, according to Pine Rest.

Tina Freese Decker, Spectrum Health president and CEO, said the health system is partnering with Pine Rest on this “critical component” of care in the community.

Pine Rest is taking the step after extensive community research on this issue, including interviews with health system leaders, emergency departments, specialty hospitals, ambulance services and law enforcement agencies.

The project is beginning as a pilot, utilizing current space in the Contact Center on the Pine Rest campus in Cutlerville, at 300 68th St. SE.

Initially, the pilot will serve adults 18 and older. It will be open for assessments every day and accept private and Medicare insurances and some Medicaid health plans.

Most psychiatric symptoms could be assessed in the facility but not issues due to significant medical issues.

The center will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary team specifically trained to provide psychiatric assessments.

Megan Zambiasi, director of the center, said the center will dramatically reduce wait times for psychiatric assessments in a safe, calm environment.

The center is expected to be the first phase of Pine Rest’s efforts to expand services and help alleviate emergency department boarding challenges throughout West Michigan.

Pine Rest said it will use outcomes and data from the pilot to assess the feasibility of expanding services to children, adolescents and seniors.

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