Derry-based Parkland Medical Center expands critical behavioral services
By CHRIS GAROFOLO Union Leader Correspondent
Parkland Medical Center (COURTESY)
DERRY — The growing need for more behavioral health programs, in part due to the ongoing opioid epidemic, has led to the Derry-based Parkland Medial Center to expand critical inpatient and outpatient services.
Parkland representatives say they have added more adult voluntary inpatient beds and expect to open an eating disorder treatment center in Salem next month, as well as continue to promote the growing adult partial hospitalization program (PHP) to alleviate wait time for those coming through the emergency room.
Justin Looser, market director for Behavioral Health Services Parkland Medical Center & Portsmouth Regional Hospital, said there is an urgency in getting patients the appropriate treatment in a timely fashion, and having additional inpatient psychiatric beds and expanded outpatient services will achieve this goal.
“We found that not only is there a lack of addiction psychiatric beds, but there’s also a lack of outpatient services,” he said on Friday.
The medical center opened its Behavioral Health Unit in 2015 and has seen more than 1,500 patients. The following year, the PHP was established to “decompress” the emergency room, according to the hospital, and transition adult patients meeting specific criteria to a private, outpatient setting that teaches new methods for coping with stress, anxiety, depression and other behavioral health symptoms.
Parkland can typically admit an outpatient to the PHP within 24 hours of being seen in the emergency department.
Last year, the program had 1,741 visits and admitted between 6-12 patients each day.
In the fall, Parkland added four more beds to its Behavioral Health Unit, increasing its total to 18.
Patients in New Hampshire routinely wait days or weeks for admittance to a psychiatric unit, and increasing the total beds offers more access to those stuck in emergency rooms, Looser said.
“Certainly the opioid crisis has impacted us significantly, both on the behavioral health service side and the inpatient general hospital side … but really the waiting list to get into a hospital has jumped in the past few years from 25 to now routinely 50-60 patients a day waiting in emergency departments across the state trying to get access to care,” he added.
The latest addition to Parkland’s services is the upcoming opening of a Reflections Eating Disorders Treatment Center at the medical center’s Salem building. This facility, scheduled to open in February, is designed to offer programs for those with eating disorders seven days a week, 12 hours daily.
This is only the third such center in the state and accepts Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance providers.
“We’re looking at starting out at 12-16 (patients) to start,” Looser said.