SIU Medicine and Passavant Area Hospital announced an agreement to transition management of the Center for Psychiatric Health to SIU Medicine July 1st. This transition allows families in the Jacksonville area to continue seeking local behavioral health care services. Current providers will continue to see patients at 1600 West Walnut, on the southeast corner of the Passavant campus, throughout the transition period. Dr. Scott Boston, Passavant President and CEO, said that current patients shouldn’t see any major differences over the transition period: “Part of our duties and responsibilities is that when we do transition to SUI, some of the logistics such as insurance providers, we are able to maintain a preferred provider list. It’s our due diligence to maintain a smooth transition, so that all patients regardless of their insurance coverage can continue to see their counselors. Patients won’t have to do anything differently. They can continue to schedule and follow up with their counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists that are currently at the clinic. There really won’t be any material changes.”
Boston says that Passavant and SIU currently have a successful partnership with their OB-GYN clinic in Jacksonville. Boston hopes that the success will continue with the Center for Psychiatric Health Center’s transition. “We will have an entire medical school. We have the ability to expand services and increase the number of providers that are able to come to Jacksonville. We will also be able to expand services that would be available, especially things like adolescent or pediatric mental health services. SIU is our strategic partner that has access to these providers that we don’t have access to. By partnering with them, we will be able to improve, increase, and add a variety and total number of services that we would not be able to provide on our own.”
SIU Medicine’s long-term vision for the Jacksonville-area practice includes a strong continuity of care for behavioral health, mental health and other related services. Dr. Kari Wolf, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at SIU Medicine outlines some of the goals for Jacksonville with the transition. “SIU has a commitment to improve the health of the 66 counties for which we are accountable, and that includes the Passavant [service] area. Passavant and Jacksonville have really struggled to have stable mental health services, and we know that mental health is critical to someone’s overall health. We want to partner with Passavant to sure up the current services and ensure the ability of the current services, and really expand and bring back behavioral health services that the community has lost in recent months and years. We really want to think about how we can improve the behavioral health needs of Jacksonville.”
The Center’s adult and child psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and licensed clinical social workers will have the opportunity to join the SIU Medicine Department of Psychiatry’s clinical practice as it expands to Jacksonville.
Wolf says that the SIU School of Medicine would eventually like to expand into the Center. “Dr. Boston and I have talked long term about having residents working at the Center and having medical students there. We know that residents are more likely to stay to practice in places that they have been a resident. This is really part of what we are looking at as part of the long-term stability of the Center. If we have residents working there, when they graduate, they are likely to stay on as a psychiatrist in the community and bring there families to live there.”
Wolf says for now that both will partner to stabilize services that are already in place and move forward to the July 1st transition.