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WellSpan Philhaven opens newly expanded behavioral health unit at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital


Thursday, July 20, 2017

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WellSpan Philhaven and WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital officials cut the ribbon at a ceremony for a new behavioral health unit that is opening at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital.

$3.4 million project allows hospital to provide longer-term care for patients with more complex needs 

WellSpan Philhaven is opening a new, expanded behavioral health unit at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, which will improve access to mental health care across central Pennsylvania. The unit opens to patients on July 24.

The $3.4 million project added 3,300 square feet and more than doubled the capacity of the hospital’s behavioral health unit – increasing the total number of behavioral health beds at the hospital from seven to 18.

The first of its kind in Lancaster County, the new unit provides care for patients with both complex mental health and medical needs. It also provides care for patients who need a longer stay at a mental health unit.

“WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital is committed to providing the best care in the best location to our patients,” said Carrie Willetts, senior vice president of WellSpan Health and president of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital. “This new unit will allow us to apply our expertise in treating patients with both medical and mental health needs, improving access to care and expanding service offerings to better meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

The newly expanded behavioral health unit includes areas for group therapy, activities and dining.

The Ephrata facility will be the first behavioral health unit at a WellSpan acute-care hospital to offer care for both short-stay and extended-stay patients. The new unit will accommodate patients with less acute needs who require a stay of three to 10 days, while also serving the needs of patients with more persistent mental illness, whose stay may extend up to 180 days.

“We are committed to finding a better way to treat people with mental illness,” said Phil Hess, senior vice president of WellSpan Health, and president of WellSpan Philhaven. “This new unit treats the whole person, mind, body and spirit.”

Hess noted that the expanded Ephrata unit is intended to help meet a growing need for behavioral health care across central Pennsylvania. A recent Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by WellSpan Health identified access to comprehensive behavioral health services as a key need across the region.

That growing need is why WellSpan Philhaven is improving access to mental health care through integrated care in WellSpan’s primary care offices, hospital emergency departments, a variety of walk-in care options and telehealth services, Hess explained.

The WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital project follows the opening of a new 10-room behavioral health suite in the emergency department at WellSpan York Hospital and the addition of a full-time behavioral health clinicians at both WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital’s emergency department.

WellSpan Philhaven was formed in January 2016, when WellSpan Health and Philhaven came together to create a new behavioral health organization that operates within WellSpan’s coordinated system of care. WellSpan Philhaven has 27 locations across Adams, Lancaster, Lebanon, York and Dauphin counties. Its behavioral health care facility in Mount Gretna offers 103 inpatient beds for children, adolescents and adults.

About WellSpan Health

WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a regional behavioral health organization, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 130 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.

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