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Penn Foundation Initiates Collaboration Between Recovery Center and Crisis Services

In January 2015, Penn Foundation initiated an enhanced collaboration between Crisis Services, within the Department of Emergency Medicine at Grand View Hospital and the Recovery Center, Penn Foundation’s Drug and Alcohol Inpatient Treatment Program.

Many people being treated in the emergency department were looking for inpatient detoxification or rehabilitation services but were not being admitted to the Recovery Center. Instead, they were either referred to another agency or changed their minds about treatment and left the hospital.

The longer the process of locating an available bed took, the less likely individuals were to go into treatment. The same was true for individuals admitted to the medical/surgical units of the hospital; they were discharged after treatment of their medical condition but not referred for follow up treatment to address their co-morbid addiction.

This project aimed to create a seamless direct admission to inpatient drug and/or alcohol treatment for community members presenting with addiction symptoms in Grand View Hospital’s Emergency Department. The goal was to decrease the wait time in the emergency room, avoid hospital “boarding” of behavioral health patients, and improve the patient experience by providing timely access to critical care.

For three months, Tim Zwilling, Coordinator of Crisis Services, spent half of each work day in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Grand View Hospital and the other half in the Admissions Department of the Recovery Center to gain a better understanding of the admissions process. What he learned helped facilitate expedited direct admission from the local hospital’s emergency room to the Recovery Center.

From January through June 2015, more patients were referred to the Recovery Center than in the entire previous year. Additionally, this partnership enhanced the relationship and communication between Crisis Services and the Recovery Center, resulting in better care for individuals in the community.

“By implementing this project, we improved access to care by creating an integrated, collaborative service delivery system that offers direct admission between the local emergency room and Penn Foundation,” says Julie Williams, MA, LPC, CCDPD, Director of Clinical Services. “Our ultimate goal is to more quickly and effectively connect people to the treatment and/or services they need and to reduce the recidivism of emergency room visits, initially for individuals needing addiction treatment and ultimately for anyone needing behavioral healthcare.”


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