Wednesday, October 9, 2013

St. Luke’s opens new mental-health facility

New wing of Hailey clinic will offer a variety of services


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

    St. Luke’s hospital on Monday opened a new wing of its Hailey clinic dedicated to providing an extensive range of mental-health services. The facility will be officially unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Friday.
    Erin Pfaeffle, St. Luke’s manager of community health services, said the services provided by the facility will fill a major need in Blaine County.
    “In this community, we have lacked full-time accessible psychiatry, so it’s going to help fill a critical need in the health care scope,” Pfaeffle said. “Folks either aren’t getting the services they need, or they’re traveling far to get the services they need, or going to physicians for psychiatric needs.”
    According to a news release, the new clinic will provide a full spectrum of mental-health services to aid varying diagnoses, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic disorder, post-traumatic-stress disorder and crisis intervention. The opening of the clinic this week was intentionally chosen to coincide with National Mental Health Awareness Week.
    The clinic’s team consists of Pfaeffle, doctor and psychiatrist Tim Stoddard, licensed clinical social worker Gay Miremont, and lead patient business associate Melissa Manolf. Pfaeffle said the clinic will hire another full-time psychiatrist and nurse as the clinic gains more patients.
    Pfaeffle said the clinic will work with community partners that will refer prospective patients to the clinic, and that the design of the clinic was intentionally made to feel like patients are not visiting a “typical” doctor’s office.
    “Investments in the treatment of underlying mental-health issues, particularly for those with limited or no resources, is crucial to the health of our community,” said Cody Langbehn, CEO of St. Luke’s Wood River. “We are pleased to offer these much-needed services and welcome Dr. Stoddard to our community.”  
    Pfaeffle said all of the facility’s first-year expenses totaled nearly $1 million, including construction, outfitting and staffing the facility. She noted that the hospital’s foundation donated $300,000 towards the clinic’s construction, which began in late April and was completed in August.
    “We’ll need philanthropic support going forward because it’s not a revenue generator,” she said. “It’s projected to lose money for at least the first few years,” she said. “We’ll need community support to sustain this and provide the scope of mental services we hope to be able to.”
    Before construction of the clinic began, Pfaeffle took part in conducting an assessment of the community’s health needs. She said substance abuse turned out to be the area’s highest-priority health issue.
    “I think in this community we have people who struggle with every type of mental illness there is,” she said. “I believe our community isn’t any different in the prevalence of certain diagnoses than others. Of course, we’ll see depression and anxiety, but we also have people who have schizophrenia and are bi-polar, so we’ll treat everybody.”
    The open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place from 4-6 p.m. Friday, at the clinic on Aviation Drive.
    “We’re working really hard and care very much about how we take care of people here,” she said. “We want to create an accepting and safe environment. When people call, they need to know we’ll give them the best patient care experience they can have.”
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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