Moving to address the mental and behavioral health gap in Harris and surrounding counties, Memorial Hermann recently opened the second of four Mental Health Crisis Clinics. The clinics stem from the state of Texas’ Medicaid 1115 Waiver – Texas Health Care Transformation and Quality Improvement Program Collaborative.
The second clinic is located in the Spring Branch area at 10780 Westview Dr., Suite C and is staffed with a psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, social worker, and other patient care personnel. With the clinic’s focus being on non-traditional access to a psychiatric, multi-disciplinary team, its operating days and hours are Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
“Recognizing the scarcity of mental health resources in Houston/Harris County region, we worked quickly to get this clinic up and running,” said Theresa Fawvor, Senior Director Behavioral Health Services for Memorial Hermann. “The volume of traffic at our first clinic in Humble starkly illustrates the need for these services. Because of its location, we expect even greater traffic for the Spring Branch clinic. Our goal is to be a resource that will direct people to the appropriate level of care and setting – one that is conducive to helping patients get better.”
Modeled after the first clinic in Humble, this walk-in clinic provides rapid access to initial psychiatric treatment and outpatient multi-disciplinary services for patients with no immediate access to mental health care. The idea is to keep individuals healthy and safe, develop processes and interventions to manage challenging behaviors, and reduce improper hospitalization or incarceration.
Last year, the Memorial Hermann Psychiatric Response Team performed more than 6,200 evaluations and found increasingly complicated co-occurring medical and psychiatric disorders, few available inpatient psychiatric beds, even fewer inpatient options to treat complex co-occurring disorders, and limited outpatient services to meet patient needs.
Using 14 years of data from 10 Memorial Hermann emergency rooms and valuable input from law enforcement, personal care homes, consumer representatives, other area psychiatric hospitals, and public and private community behavioral health services providers; Memorial Hermann will identify the locations for the two remaining clinics in key underserved areas. When all four clinics are open and fully developed, the goal will be to provide 24-hour, seven days a week access.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has supported the move to create more mental health resources saying previously that: “We must move away from a crisis-based system that leaves our law enforcement officers, our jails, and our emergency rooms as de facto mental health providers. With more than 25 percent of the approximately 9,000 inmates on psychotropic medication, I’m running the state’s largest mental health facility- the Harris County Jail. There must be a better solution, and I applaud Memorial Hermann for its efforts to be part of that solution.”
The Crisis Clinic initiative is one of nine Memorial Hermann-sponsored Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) projects aimed at transforming health care. Overall, DSRIP goals include better care for individuals, better health for the population, and lower cost through process improvement.
Memorial Hermann is part of Region 3’s Southeast Texas Regional Healthcare Partnership anchored by Harris Health System, and includes the counties of Austin, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Matagorda, Waller, and Wharton.
In addition to the Crisis Clinics, the other Memorial Hermann DSRIP projects addressing the gap in the mental and behavioral care services include Psychiatric Response Case Management and Psychiatric Home Health Services.