UPMC hospitals in Pennsylvania to introduce new outpatient services

UPMC Jameson and UPMC Horizon are introducing new outpatient services for patients with behavioral health care needs

UPMC in western Pennsylvania, Mercer, New Castle, and other places, could be affected by a contract dispute.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (WKBN) – As healthcare changes, it’s hard for hospitals to be able to do everything, like have multiple units or keep manpower.

Recently, UPMC Jameson notified the state that it’s closing its inpatient behavioral unit within the next 60 days. The unit has shown a roughly 50 percent patient decline.

The goal now is to help establish a peer navigator program with counseling and to get patients into the correct rehab setting.

“If we can put more resources into our emergency department, we can put behavioral specialists into the physician offices. We can touch more lives, we can identify people that have these issues and help them sooner,” said UPMC Jameson President Doug Danko.

The approach takes the burden off inpatient treatment for services. So, the behavioral unit will be discontinued and outpatient services will be expanded. The 24 employees with the behavioral health program at UPMC Jameson will either work with the outpatient unit, emergency room or in other units.

“I think it’s progressive because it’s putting people in a less restrictive setting and it’s giving them more personalized care. Whether it’s for drug and alcohol addiction or whether it’s for behavioral issues,” Danko said.

Another part of the new approach is putting therapists in primary care offices because treatment for drug and alcohol addictions can be different than for those who have purely behavioral issues.

“Sometimes they’re mixed but if you have a pure drug and alcohol problem then we want to treat you individually. We want to get you to the resources that are appropriate for you as quick as we can,” Danko said.

This new approach also covers UPMC Horizon in Hermitage, so Lawrence and Mercer Counties will be covered.

“We’re starting into the future of what I think is the way to treat behavioral health in community settings,” Danko said.

These new outpatient services will allow for treatment to be done in a home-like setting.

Danko explained that since the hospital’s inpatient behavioral unit is showing a decrease in patients, the ones who do come in can now have the opportunity to be with a specialist.

“I believe that having a comprehensive approach to taking care of these disorders is really warranted. The trigger for us was the bridge through UPMC connecting to the expertise of [the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC],” Danko said.

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