Mental health option in city BY BERNARD HARRIS, Staff Writer
In the past three years, Mount Gretna-based Philhaven has experienced a 260 percent increase in its adult day program.
With 39 percent of its clients -- nearly 11,000 people treated annually -- residing in Lancaster County, it made sense for Philhaven to expand its services in Lancaster.
And a location on North Prince Street, within blocks of Lancaster General Hospital, the county's Behavioral Health/Developmental Services department and doctors' offices, will promote collaboration, Philhaven officials said.
"It's in the city, but it's very accessible, and it's close to other providers. I think it will serve us very well. I think it will serve the community very well," said Philip Hess, Philhaven's chief executive officer, as he stood in the lobby of 812 N. Prince St.
The former home of Warfel Construction, near Clipper Magazine Stadium, will become Philhaven's newest satellite location April 1.
The 10,000-square-foot space will also be one of the largest satellites of the Lebanon County mental-health provider.
Philhaven plans to provide adult day services for as many as 30 people at the site. Another section of the building will be used for triage, in which referred patients come for an initial mental-health assessment. An outpatient treatment area, where patients will come for appointments with psychiatrists and therapists, will comprise the third section of the facility.
Philhaven received Lancaster city zoning approval for a "day hospital" in December. Approval also is needed from the state Department of Public Welfare prior to opening. It will be inspected by the Joint Accreditation Commission.
The adult day program, which will consume the majority of the building space, will provide treatment for people age 18 and older with a mental-health diagnosis. Those diagnoses may be depression, anxiety or mood, bipolar, adjustment or post-traumatic stress disorders, said Sara Wright, Philhaven's director of day hospital programs.
People in the program are not dangerous to themselves or others, but they cannot function alone, she said.
The day program provides individual- and group-therapy sessions and medication management. It will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, said Wright.
Dale Brickley, Philhaven's director of access, crisis and triage, compared the triage service that will come to the North Prince Street center to the medical urgent care centers that have sprung up in recent years.
Urgent care centers treat walk-in patients with physical ailments in a setting that is between a doctor's office and an emergency room.
The triage service will take patients who have been referred by other health-care providers, an emergency room, county social worker or someone who has contacted Philhaven directly.
Those visits will occur in as little as a week after referral, said Brickley. That compares to the three- to six-month wait typical of an initial psychiatrist appointment, he said.
A mental illness can get worse during that wait, said Brickley. A triage assessment can help prevent a downward spiral.
Prescription medication can help address chemical imbalances in the brain and initial assessments can direct treatment options, he said.
"In many cases, it's difficult trying to navigate the world of mental health care, to try to find the right program and the right level of care," Brickley said of seeking help.
Philhaven's triage program is the only one of its kind in the area and is on the vanguard of mental health treatment, he said.
"I believe we are leading the pack in this area," said Brickley.
Collaboration with other health-care providers was important in the selection of the site, said Hess.
Increasingly, the brain is seen as one organ within the body, said Brickley. People with mental illness typically also have physical ailments. And treatment should take on a holistic approach to the body.
"One in four adults in the United States experiences mental illness at some time in their lives," Hess noted.
The new location joins Philhaven offices on Euclid Avenue and West James Street in Lancaster city; on Rohrerstown Road in East Hempfield Township; on Eden Road and Frances Avenue in Manheim Township; on North Reading Road in Ephrata; and on Cloverleaf Road in Mount Joy Township.
The office is the former administrative office of Warfel Construction, which moved to Enterprise Road, near East Petersburg, in 2007.
In a site plan submitted as part of the zoning application, former Warfel CEO Tim Peters, owner of the property, intends to expand the 2.35-acre site to 2.73 acres. Those plans also include constructing two additional buildings on the site. Those buildings would have retail space on the first floors and apartments on two upper floors.
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