At Zucker Hillside, a new focus on behavioral crises

Alternative fact: Zucker Hillside's new Adult Behavioral Health Crisis Center gives psychiatric patients a better option than the emergency room.

Reducing emergency room visits by patients suffering long-term psychiatric disorders is the main thrust of a new “crisis center” on the Nassau-Queens border.

The Northwell Health system has cut the ribbon on its new Adult Behavioral Health Crisis Center at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, part of “an ongoing effort to improve the quality of life of people living with psychiatric disorders,” according to Northwell.

The center provides walk-in services to those needing immediate psychiatric care, thereby bridging the gap many patients face in accessing appropriate, quality behavioral-health services – while simultaneously easing the burden on the emergency departments at Zucker Hillside and other area hospitals.

Michael Dwyer, Zucker Hillside’s associate executive director, noted the Adult Behavioral Health Crisis Center is focused on “evidence-based treatment and patient-centered care.”

“By providing walk-in evaluation and treatment that will help patients in their recovery from a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses and emotional issues, we are taking a giant step forward in caring for the most vulnerable members of our community,” Dwyer said in a statement.

The center is also designed to help Northwell Health support the goals of the New York State Department of Health’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program, Albany’s attempt to fundamentally restructure statewide healthcare delivery systems. With more than $6.4 billion in funding available, the program aims to reduce “avoidable hospital use” by 25 percent over the next five years, with payouts based on the achievement of “predefined results in system transformation, clinical management and population health,” according to the health department.

Services offered by Zucker Hillside’s new Crisis Center include evidence-based screening assessments, crisis-stage psychotherapy, diagnostic evaluations and care coordination across various practice areas.

Patients will also benefit from various short-term treatment options – including medication as necessary – as well as post-visit referrals and other follow-up protocols.

The center is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of licensed professionals including psychiatrists, medical assistants, social workers, care coordinators and peer advocates.

The Adult Behavioral Health Crisis Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call (718) 470-8300.

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