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St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center Funded to Develop Psychiatric Mobile Van Program to Provide Care in Home Settings

January 24, 2007 (New York): The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), established by the State of New York with charitable funds from the privatization of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, today announced its first 23 grantees. The grant to St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Project will help expand psychiatric services that can be provided in a patient’s home instead of an emergency room.

"This grant to St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center can significantly expand communitybased psychiatric intervention through use of a mobile van staffed by professionals in a model that can be replicated elsewhere," said James R. Knickman, President and CEO of NYSHealth Foundation.

The Syracuse Mobile Crisis Outreach Project was among 23 chosen from over 600 applications for the inaugural round of grant making by NYSHealth. Knickman noted: “this proposal focuses on an important health need among New Yorkers – emergency mental health services. The NYSHealth grant will allow the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program to add an outreach component that after start-up could be sustained with other forms of reimbursement,” Crisis Outreach services are currently available to adults through CPEP on an extremely limited basis.

“Following the hiring and training of professional staff,” reported Donald Kates, Project Director, “the project will begin providing mobile crisis outreach services in June or July of this year.”

Three large community hospitals joined together to operate a Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP), a collaborative organization providing emergency mental health services for Onondaga County residents located at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center. Since many patients using services of CPEP do not require emergency care, St. Joseph's Syracuse Mobile Crisis Outreach Project plans to develop a mobile outreach program to provide crisis outreach and interim crisis services in people's homes, rather than an emergency facility. They will also be able to visit patients recently seen at CPEP to help them follow through with their discharge plans

NYSHealth makes grants that reflect its three-part mission to (1) expand health insurance coverage to the 2.8 million state residents without it, (2) increase access to high-quality health care services to vulnerable populations, and (3) improve public and community health by educating New Yorkers about health concerns and by empowering communities to address them.

The New York State Health Foundation is a private Foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. NYSHealth has a three-part mission: expanding health insurance coverage, increasing access to high-quality health care services, and improving public and community health by educating New Yorkers about health issues and empowering communities to address them. It was established with charitable funds from the privatization of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.