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St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Opens State-of-the-Art Behavioral Health Wing in Its Emergency Department

Far Rockaway, New York, October 8, 2021 — St. John’s Episcopal Hospital has announced the opening of its new, state-of-the-art behavioral health wing in its Emergency Department. The behavioral health wing is specifically designed to enhance the care of individuals in need of emergency behavioral health services. The 2,300-square-foot space features an evaluation room; a private interview room; an exam room; and 11 positions (curtain divided patient care areas) featuring a combination of beds and recliners that are designed to provide a comforting and safe environment of care. The new area also features a space that can be used as a quiet room to provide the patient with a calm and relaxing environment where they can self-manage their symptoms.

In addition to the physical space, St. John’s has instituted several clinically proven processes intended to reduce behavioral health-related hospitalizations and improve patient outcomes. All behavioral health Team Members at St. John’s complete the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Prevention and Management of Crisis Situations program annually, which focuses on how to efficiently de-escalate behavioral health-related crises by using verbal techniques and interventions that are least restrictive.

St. John’s behavioral health Team Members working in the emergency department collaborate with St. John’s outpatient behavioral health Team Members to ensure that patients have a follow-up visit with a clinician within 48 hours of being discharged from the emergency department to prevent a crisis from reemerging, and to provide an opportunity for sustained and effective outpatient treatment. Additionally, the behavioral health wing’s new private interview space provides an ideal opportunity for a warm handoff to occur between outpatient providers and patients prior to discharge. Through a warm handoff, patients build a rapport with an outpatient provider, which can encourage patients to continue seeking necessary behavioral health services in the community from this provider.

St. John’s also connects behavioral health patients with community based organizations that provide services such as care coordination, substance abuse treatment, and crisis respite which, when utilized, can help manage behavioral health conditions and prevent the need for an emergency department visit or hospitalization.

“We have worked tirelessly to create the ideal environment to treat those who are experiencing emergent behavioral health-related conditions,” said Terri Coyle, LCSW, Vice President of Behavioral Health. “The new behavioral health wing of the emergency department is symbolic of our commitment to improve the health and well-being of those we serve.”

According to a recent New York State-sponsored Community Health Needs Assessment, access to behavioral health services is a top ten need of the Rockaway, Queens communities.

Construction of the behavioral health wing was made possible through grant funding awarded to St. John’s through the New York State Department of Health’s (NYSDOH) Capital Restructuring Financing Program (CRFP) that was created to support the goals of the NYSDOH’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) Program.

About Episcopal Health Services

Episcopal Health Services Inc., (EHS) is a health system located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, New York. The system provides emergency and ambulatory care to the densely populated, culturally and economically diverse, and medically underserved Rockaways and Five Towns populations. The system provides people of all faiths with comprehensive preventive, diagnostic treatment, and rehabilitative services, regardless of their ability to pay.