OGDENSBURG -- Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center plans to build an inpatient child and adolescent psychiatric unit thanks to a $2.63 million grant from New York State’s Statewide Health Care Facility Transformation Program.
The 12-bed inpatient unit will provide treatment for individuals under 18 years of age. Currently, children that require inpatient mental health care often wait long hours and even days in Claxton-Hepburn’s Emergency Department before being transported to a facility that can provide the care they need. The new unit will provide a local option for patients and their families and will help eliminate the need for travel to distant hospitals.
The addition of this unit complements Claxton-Hepburn’s continuum of care which can start in its Emergency Department and continue through outpatient services as necessary. Having a children’s unit within the hospital provides access to other needed services, such as primary care, specialists, ancillary testing, emergency services, and more.
The unit will be constructed on the fourth floor of the medical center, occupying a space that was left vacant when its maternity unit relocated during a previous building project. Before construction, a certificate of need application must be filed with and approved by the New York State Department of Health. Following necessary approvals, Claxton-Hepburn anticipates the unit’s construction will begin later this year and will be finished in 2020.
“We are very excited to be able to provide a much-needed service for the children of the north country,” said Chet Truskowski, chairman of the CHMC Board of Directors. “Mental illness affects all age groups. Claxton Hepburn Medical Center has taken the lead in assuring that access to mental health services is a priority for all. Having an inpatient children’s mental health unit will help to eliminate lengthy Emergency Department stays and allow for more timely treatment of children closer to home.”
Claxton-Hepburn holds the 9.39 Emergency Department designation which provides 24/7 psychiatric evaluations. The medical center has a 28-bed adult mental health unit as well as an outpatient behavioral health center that provides care for children and adults.
“Claxton-Hepburn identified a long-standing need and took the necessary steps to address it,” explained Vicki Perrine, CHMC Vice President of Business Development & Behavioral Health Services. “Children have a right to timely and appropriate psychiatric treatment. Our nearly 30-year history of providing mental health care to the community makes this unit a logical addition to our services.”