(Raleigh, NC) – Alliance Health, in collaboration with Wake County, has developed and opened a new service in Raleigh to help people who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Much like the physical health urgent care facilities that are becoming common in our communities, a behavioral health urgent care center provides rapid assessment of an individual’s situation, routine intervention, and referrals for follow up services.
The goal of behavioral health urgent care centers is to provide a community-based option to stabilize individuals experiencing behavioral health crises in a way that reduces unnecessary trips to the emergency room, hospitalizations, and even incarcerations.
This service targets people living in Wake, Durham, Cumberland and Johnston counties who have Medicaid or no insurance. Individuals with private insurance and those who do not qualify for other public funding will pay an out-of-pocket fee.
The new center in Raleigh, located at 319 Chapanoke Road. Suite 120, is open for adults and children Monday-Thursday from 8 am to 8 pm, on Fridays from 8 am to 3 pm and on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. It is operated by Monarch, a member of the Alliance Provider Network that also offers a variety of other behavioral health services at locations across the state.
“Those in need of mental health support often wait weeks for an appointment. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care will offer same-day service and will assist people who are in a crisis to get the critical mental health and substance use disorder services that most likely are unavailable or not easily accessible,” said Monarch’s Vice President of Operations for Outpatient Services Robin Henderson-Wiley. “This facility is the collaboration of so many amazing partners, like Alliance Health and Wake County, and is one example of how a community can work together to provide the necessary care for people with very complex needs.”
Visitors to urgent care have access to psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, and other clinical staff in a safe, respectful environment. Center staff see people in a variety of situations, including people who need a medication refill to remain stable but face a wait to see their regular provider, people in acute psychological distress, and people seeking urgent assistance with a substance use disorder. It can also be used by school staff to get quick help for youth in distress, and by parents who are required to get psychiatric assessments for children before they are allowed back in school but face a long wait for an appointment at a traditional mental health practice.
A visit to the center averages about two hours, and begins with a nursing assessment and a drug and alcohol screening to assess whether an individual is physically stable, followed by a crisis assessment to determine what services are appropriate. Staff also conduct an assessment of social determinants, such as housing, food security and social support, to determine whether an individual needs to be connected with other services to maintain stability.
Alliance opened a similar urgent care center in Durham in summer 2017. It served more than 1300 people last year, with 90% seeing a physician/prescriber on the same day. Only 6% of individuals with Medicaid seen at the Durham center had an emergency department visit in the following 30 days.
“Alliance is committed to giving people access to services when they need it and in the most appropriate settings,” said Dr. Margaret Brunson, Alliance Director of Hospital Relations. “The behavioral health urgent care is an innovative way to de-escalate crises, address social needs, and prevent unnecessary use of higher levels of care.
This level of care is not suited for drug/alcohol detoxification, people with urgent medical needs, or when it is clear that hospitalization is required. In those cases, a hospital or one of Alliance’s Crisis and Assessment Centers is more appropriate. Locations of these facilities are available on the Alliance website at AllianceHealthPlan.org. Alliance also provides an Access and Information Line staffed by clinicians 24/7 at (800) 510-9132.
About Alliance Health
Alliance Health is the managed care organization for publicly-funded behavioral healthcare services for the people of Durham, Wake, Cumberland and Johnston counties. Alliance works with a network of almost 2200 private providers to serve the needs of 471,000 Medicaid-eligible and uninsured individuals within a total population of 1.8 million.