CHEBOYGAN — McLaren Northern Michigan will soon open the Justin A. Borra Behavioral Health Center in Cheboygan to address the high demand for behavioral health services in the region.
Breaking ground in late 2021, the expansion brings resources and increases access to behavioral health care through the addition of inpatient care and a partial hospitalization outpatient program.
Housed in a newly renovated 11,000-square feet facility, the 18-bed Pulte Family Foundation Adult Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit, with care provided by a psychiatrist, will have the capabilities to provide intensive, inpatient care for patients afflicted with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other thought disorders, such as schizophrenia.
“The need for behavioral health services is a nationwide crisis and one that will only increase,” said Dr. Justin Klamerus, McLaren Health Care Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer. “The Northern Michigan region has a particular lack of resources for behavioral health care, and I commend our team at McLaren Northern Michigan for directly addressing the vital issue of inpatient psychiatric beds in their region.”
To be offered within the Justin A. Borra Behavioral Health Center, the McDonald Partial Hospitalization Program will add a less-intense treatment layer to allow the center to provide comprehensive behavioral health care. With the capacity to treat 20 patients at a time, psychiatrists can address patients’ symptoms before they become severe enough to require inpatient care. Officials said it also gives patients leaving inpatient care a measured, step-down resource in a structured, programmed environment.
Staff psychiatrists will also soon care for patients in an outpatient setting in the campus’ Medical Office Building.
Dennis Hesselink, chairman of the hospital board at McLaren, noted that behavioral health issues are prevalent across Northern Michigan and the United States. Often, Hesselink said, when people have a behavioral health issue they end up in jail or in an emergency room where “they don’t have the services or the expertise that they have here.”
“Thirty percent of the people who are in jail shouldn’t be in jail,” he said. “They should be getting help here.”
Hesselink said there are two parts to the new facility — an inpatient portion and what he described as an “adult daycare” facility.
“Imagine a mom with a son or a daughter who has huge outbursts that may possibly be violent … and that person can go home at night,” he said, explaining the daytime outpatient services that will be provided.
A second phase expansion for the center is already in the works with details to come at a future date. However, Hesselink hinted at phase two possibly addressing juvenile mental health.
Prior to the opening of the facility, there were only 35 behavioral health inpatient beds serving all of the Northern Michigan region.
The emergency departments at McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey and its Cheboygan Campus would regularly hold patients in need of advanced behavioral health care who could not be transferred due to the region’s limited availability.
“The motivation behind our investments and expansion efforts are always to add services and increase access to specialized and in-demand care,” said Chad Grant, McLaren Health Care Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “The need for an enhanced level of behavioral health services in Northern Michigan has been well-documented, and McLaren Northern Michigan’s development of this service line affirms our commitment, and it’s a program we’re grateful to offer.”
In large part, the project was funded by the philanthropic efforts of the McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation and a significant grant from the State of Michigan.
“We are so grateful to these and other donors, who have stepped up to support this important project,” McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation Chief Philanthropy Officer Julie Jarema said. “Our community will be better served because of their generosity.”
Major donor Nancy Pulte Rickard added that “The Pulte Family Foundation believes that we need to bring mental health out of the darkness.”
“When I grew up it was you just bucked up as a family and you took care of any mental issues that came up,” she said. “But today is a new day and we want to be a part of the solution not a part of the problem. We believe in this initiative and are excited for this initiative in our area up here. In any community there are issues with mental health … especially since COVID it has been amplified.”
Pulte Rickard also expressed her desire to see a future facility that addressed youth problems.
“I would like to see it include a children’s ward,” she said. “I think if we can capture some of the issues at an earlier age we will change the future.”
A formal ribbon-cutting event will be held for the facility at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 26.
— Contact reporter Annie Doyle at (231)675-0099 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @adoylenews.
This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: McLaren Northern Michigan behavioral health center opens in Cheboygan
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