Edgewater’s First-in-State Rapid Access Center Gets National Attention

Danita Johnson HughesTo help communities and organizations struggling with treating persons with acute psychiatric crises or substance abuse disorders, Edgewater Behavioral Health Services has launched the first-in-the-state Rapid Access Center (RAC) to put patients on the road to wellness as a preferred alternative to a hospital emergency room or even jail. Breaking from these traditional approaches, this mental health provider from Gary stepped up with a mid-level approach that is drawing national attention from such organizations as the Mental Health Corporations of America. In a recent presentation in Indianapolis, Danita Johnson Hughes, Ph.D. President & CEO; Timothy Thomas, MSW Chief Clinical Officer; and Ronald Williams, MS, Chief Crisis Officer shared the results since the clinic opened on July 1, 2015. Nearly 350 patients have been treated through a continuum of services provided to individuals experiencing a psychiatric or substance use emergency. Dr. Hughes said this is still “work in progress,” but the outcome has been a “significant improvement” over previous alternatives. “There are a number of intervention models out there, but our clinic is somewhat unique and has been effective,” she added. Unlike most other models, this center has both a short term treatment clinic, like a hospital emergency room, and a longer term facility for more serious conditions, where patients can receive sustaining treatment over the course of days. Another benefit is that first responders spend far less time with patients during check-in, freeing them to return to critical jobs.

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