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Mental health acute care clinic to expand same-day access to adults and children for triage, intervention and counseling

Jacksonville, FL —

In the U.S., one in five adults and youth over the age of 13 experiences some form of mental illness in a given year. The most common mental illnesses are major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders, but there are many diagnoses which can unpredictably escalate into emergency situations.

To increase access to acute mental health services, especially in situations in which a person cannot readily access outpatient behavioral health services, the Baptist Behavioral Health program at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital will expand to include an acute care clinic for adults and children in summer 2020.

The mental health acute care clinic will be designed to create a bridge between inpatient and outpatient care, providing patients with same-day access to a mental health professional for time-sensitive intervention or counseling in an office setting. Licensed mental health professionals will quickly triage referred patients to determine whether their situation is appropriate for a same-day office visit, or if emergency care is required.

“Our goal is to provide greater access to mental health services and ensure patients have continuity of care when they need it most,” said Terrie Andrews, PhD, system administrator for Baptist Behavioral Health. “Research indicates that if patients can be seen shortly after discharge, whether from the emergency department or an inpatient unit, the likelihood of readmission or returning to the emergency department is reduced.”

The expanded clinic will be funded, in part, by a $25,000 grant from CVS Health as part of the company’s larger initiative to invest in health care throughout Florida. A portion of the grant will be used for additional telehealth technology, which will help create greater access to professional counseling, psychological services and psychiatric services for adults and children throughout the community. Referrals to the expanded clinic are expected from a variety of sources, including Baptist Behavior Health’s 24-hour mental health crisis intervention line, as well as emergency departments, primary care providers, patients and family members.

Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said, “Access to mental health services makes all the difference in our community. That is why it is a priority at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. This gift from CVS Health brings us one step closer to ensuring all children have access to the professional behavioral health services they need.”

Expanding access through technology 

Each exam room in the Baptist Behavioral Health acute care clinic will be outfitted with telehealth capabilities, and providers will be able to give video consults to inpatients anywhere in the Baptist Health/Wolfson Children’s Hospital system, including its nine emergency department locations. During a telehealth consult, a member of the care team will provide a warm, empathic “face-to-face” visit with the patient, which will be conducted via HIPAA-compliant video conferencing technology.

“This technology will enhance our already advanced and personalized model of care,” said Michael A. Mayo, FACHE, president of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. “We’ll be better able to help patients of all ages facing distressing or critical mental health challenges, faster. That is life-changing.”

“Our company has long focused on ways to bring innovative tools, resources and solutions to the communities we serve,” said Faith Weiner, senior director of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health. “The new mental health acute care clinic aligns with our purpose of helping people and communities achieve better health.”

For more about Baptist Behavioral Health services, including its 24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Line, visit