Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Ballad Health opens Woodridge Hospital Walk-In Behavioral Crisis Center

Facility’s newest addition follows national nursing excellence award

Ballad Health is bringing crucial behavioral health services to the region, with the addition of a brand new Walk-In Behavioral Crisis Center at Woodridge Hospital.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Walk-In Behavioral Crisis Center is intended for patients experiencing behavioral health emergencies such as suicidal or homicidal ideation, acute psychosis, auditory and/or visual hallucinations or any other extreme mental or emotional crises. It does not provide care for physical illnesses and injuries.

“The Woodridge Hospital Walk-In Behavioral Crisis Center is one of the most important steps we’ve taken to address the health needs of our community,” said Tammy Albright, chief executive officer of Ballad Health behavioral health services. “Immediately, this clinic creates a much-needed access point for behavioral healthcare, thereby enabling people who need intervention to reach experts and services that can help. However, the far-reaching effects of this clinic have the potential to alleviate larger problems in healthcare – issues that are afflicting communities nationwide, not just in our region.

“This is a forward-thinking, effective solution that addresses healthcare availability and access and builds a foundation for a better healthcare delivery system.”

Before the crisis center, patients with behavioral health crises often arrived at emergency departments to wait until they could be seen by a behavioral health professional or be transferred to a behavioral health center. While the process kept the patient safe from immediate physical harm, the long waits could delay the implementation of a robust treatment plan, and the time spent in the emergency department contributed to emergency room overcrowding – another national healthcare problem.

“During an emergency, it’s imperative patients receive prompt, compassionate care, and to do that, it’s crucial they seek care from the right place,” Albright said. “Just as we work to ensure patients visit the right place for their physical health – such as differentiating between primary care, urgent care and emergency rooms – we also want to make sure they’re going to the right place for behavioral health. Creating this walk-in clinic gives our community an important resource for their mental health, and it will help everyone – from the patients who need this crisis intervention, to those who have been affected by emergency room overcrowding, to our clinicians and team members who have worked to find solutions and overcome problems to nevertheless provide top-tier healthcare.”

The clinic is open to the public and can be accessed from the front entrance of Woodridge Hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee. The behavioral health hospital will still receive inpatient referrals from surrounding facilities in addition to patients who use the crisis clinic. The clinic accepts insured and self-pay patients.

This addition ensures patients with emergent behavioral health needs can get an immediate evaluation and an appropriate treatment plan in a facility specifically equipped to manage those needs. Upon arrival to the walk-in center, a patient will be greeted and triaged for medical evaluation, after which, a behavioral health clinician will determine the appropriate treatment for the patient in either an inpatient or outpatient setting. The clinic is equipped with eight observation rooms, a triage room and nursing stations.

“Our team members have already been providing excellent, nationally-recognized behavioral healthcare, and the new crisis center takes the quality of that healthcare to the next level,” said John Betts, administrator of Woodridge Hospital. “You could build the best facility in the world, and it wouldn’t mean anything without the healthcare professionals who are compassionate and dedicated to serving their community. I’ll be the first to say we have some of the best team members in the world right here at Woodridge Hospital.”

The Woodridge Hospital Behavioral Health Walk-In Crisis Center opens a year after the facility’s team earned the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality. NDNQI awards are presented annually by Press Ganey, a national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement, and they recognize the top-performing hospitals in each of six categories. Woodridge Hospital was named a best-performing psychiatric hospital for 2021.

Recipients of the award are chosen based on 17 criteria. Woodridge Hospital’s selection means its cumulative score was the highest of any psychiatric hospital considered for the award in the nation.

The NDNQI is the only nursing database that provides regular reporting of structure, process and outcome indicators to evaluate nursing care at the unit level. The database has been used to solidify the link between nursing quality and better outcomes for patients.

In addition to this 2021 Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality, Woodridge Hospital also earned the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for providing a patient experience ranked in the top 5% of hospitals measured.

“These awards are a testament to the work our team at Woodridge Hospital is doing to prioritize patient needs,” said Keith White, MD, chief medical officer of Ballad Health behavioral health services. “Our team encounters patients and families who are in challenging and uncertain points in their lives, so providing compassionate care is critical.

“What makes this recognition extra special is that we’re beginning the next chapter of behavioral healthcare in the Appalachian Highlands. Thanks to our excellent team, we know we’re ready to bring that next level of care to every patient in the region.”

Woodridge Hospital functions as an integral piece of Ballad Health’s behavioral health network. The full behavioral health network consists of hospitals, outpatient clinics, outpatient substance use disorder treatment centers and supportive housing across Tennessee and Virginia. Last year, the system served thousands of adults, adolescents and children in the Appalachian Highlands, totaling more than 4,400 unique patients seen for inpatient psychiatric care, with Ballad Health providers seeing more than 31,000 people for behavioral health needs.

More information about the NDNQI award is available here. Information about Woodridge Hospital is available at www.balladhealth.org.

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