October 29, 2009
Outpatient Behavioral Health Services for Penn State Hershey and PinnacleHealth to Join Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute
Harrisburg, PA.-In an effort to enhance collaboration and continuity of care among existing mental health services in the region, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Health System and PinnacleHealth System today announced plans to integrate their separate outpatient behavioral health practices within the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI).
PinnacleHealth will transition its outpatient services to PPI on November 1. Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Health System will convert its services to PPI in December. The existing practice sites for both health care organizations will be maintained, with PPI taking over day-to-day management duties. The transition should be seamless to patients, who can continue to see their existing behavioral health care provider throughout the transition.
Formed jointly by PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey in 2008, PPI currently operates a 74-bed psychiatric hospital in Harrisburg on the Polyclinic Hospital Campus, which provides inpatient mental health services on behalf of its parent health care institutions, including care for adult, geriatric, adolescent and pediatric patients.
PPI currently does not provide its own outpatient behavioral health services. Nancy Purtell, M.B.A., H.C.M., R.N., chief executive officer of PPI, describes the addition of PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey outpatient services to PPI as part of a long-term strategy to enhance the quality of behavioral health care and ensure the continuum of care for its patients.
“From the beginning, PPI’s goal has been to enhance the quality and availability of psychiatric care, increase the study and understanding of mental illness, and improve education and training opportunities for mental health service providers in central Pennsylvania,” Purtell says. “The inclusion of outpatient services in PPI’s health care offerings is consistent with our goal and the original intent of both Penn State Hershey and PinnacleHealth. It reflects the success of this unique partnership.”
Collectively, PinnacleHealth and Penn State Hershey have four outpatient practice sites offering a variety of behavioral health programs that see more than 30,000 patients per year. All four practice sites are located in Dauphin County.
The addition of outpatient services complements PPI’s existing inpatient operations, which include several distinct inpatient units in its 74-bed hospital-a 16-bed child and adolescent psychiatry unit, a 20-bed geriatric psychiatry unit, as well as 20-bed and 18-bed adult psychiatry units.
In addition to patient care, PPI provides clinical rotation opportunities for psychiatric resident physicians, medical students and nursing students, making it the premiere training facility in the region for up-and-coming mental health providers.
PPI also fosters enhanced study and understanding of mental illness, diagnosis and treatment and intends to establish research programs that are vital to offering the highest quality of psychiatric care.