Behavioral Health aligns a broad range of specialty behavioral health services across the network and centers of excellence in areas such as mood disorders, child and adolescent behavioral health disorders, integrated medical and behavioral health care, geriatric psychiatry and substance use disorders. Hackensack Meridian Health’s long history of community outreach and prevention services combined with recent population health advances and initiatives will help to position Behavioral Health well for future growth.
With the formation of our new organization, Hackensack Meridian Behavioral Health became one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of Behavioral Health services and programs in the state, poised with 165 inpatient psychiatry beds and 10 outpatient centers. Additionally, with Emergency Psychiatric Services at each of our hospital Emergency Departments, Hackensack Meridian Behavioral Health will continue its leadership role as an organization with a core commitment to meeting the Behavioral Health needs of the communities we serve.
Treating the Whole Person
Hackensack University Medical Center’s inpatient Psychiatry Unit and Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic have been a leader in their approach to treating both the physical and behavioral needs of their patients through their whole-person approach to treatment, which incorporates a prevention and wellness approach, including nutritional guidance, exercise and mindfulness/meditation training.
Meeting the Needs of Our Communities
Mountainside Medical Center continues to meet the special needs of our geriatric population in their highly regarded Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, which allows for a special focus and approach to the needs of the older psychiatric population. Mountainside Medical Center physicians give special consideration to the medical challenges that also impact the psychiatric conditions of the older adult, and specialized program activities are designed with that in mind as well.
The Outpatient Counseling Center at Palisades Medical Center has crafted its services to meet the needs of their bilingual (Spanish/English) community, where many services are provided by bilingual psychiatrists and counselors. Providing these services and meeting the demand for bilingual Behavioral Health practitioners is one of the greatest challenges faced by Behavioral Health organizations. Palisades Medical Center has made meeting this need a strategic priority for serving their community.
At Jersey Shore University Medical Center, physician leaders, clinicians, and members of the community have joined forces to address the growing problem of substance abuse and the need for additional behavioral health services within our community. Jersey Shore received a $950,000 grant from the NJ Department of Health for the Community Engagement, Screening, Assessment and Referral (CESAR) program. To date, more than 14,000 screenings have taken place. In addition, a $2.4 million project, “Collaborative Mental Healthcare Pilot Program (Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative),” led by Ramon Solhkhah, M.D., and Steven Kairys, M.D., was funded by the Department of Children and Families in 2015. This program placed mental health professionals in pediatricians’ offices as a strategy to address behavioral health issues early. Now in its second year, it has expanded from four to 11 counties with 223 participating pediatricians who have screened 34,494 patients, and provided mental health consultation services to 1,746 patients of participating pediatric primary care providers.
Addressing the Drug Epidemic
In response to the heroin and opiate abuse epidemic affecting the nation, and particularly Monmouth and Ocean counties, Scientific Magazine hosted a forum addressing the issue with experts offering four perspectives, including Government, Criminal Justice, Medicine and Industry. The event was held at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in May. Governor Christie also visited infants facing perinatal addiction in Jersey Shore’s NICU. The visit reinforced how even the youngest, most innocent members of our community are affected by addiction.
Jersey Shore and Hackensack University Medical Center have been actively involved in supporting first responder efforts out in the community. Providing law enforcement officials with replacement naloxone kits helps the police departments manage rising costs while ensuring that the life-saving antidote for heroin and opioid overdoses is available when minutes count.
Pediatric Behavioral Health
The Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative Grant was awarded an expansion by the NJ Department of Children and Family Services allowing the Meridian Health and Cooper Health to expand its current into seven additional counties in conjunction with a new grant partner, St. Peter’s Health. The Pediatric Psychiatry Collaborative Pilot Program (PPC) is a state funded grant program that partners Meridian Health and Cooper University Health System to provide support for children with behavioral and emotional health issues. The program is available for children up to age 18 and requires the child’s primary care provider (PCP) to universally offer standardized behavioral health screenings at each child’s well visit. Meridian Health & Cooper Health each act as a hub whereby the PCP can make a referral for access to child mental health services. Combined, the hubs are currently serving eleven counties in NJ.
Behavioral Health Home Program
Behavioral Health gained certification as a Behavioral Health Home, which is a Medicaid State Plan option that provides an opportunity to build a person-centered system of care that achieves improved outcomes and better services and value for the NJ Medicaid program. A Behavioral Health Home allows individuals to have all of their health care needs identified, addressed, and treated in a coordinated way. It is expected that the use of a behavioral health home model will result in improved health outcomes for the consumer base, better quality of treatment, and improved cost effectiveness; improved consumer experience with care; and declines in the use of hospitals, emergency departments, and other costly inpatient care.
Advanced Care for Depression
Jersey Shore University Medical Center is the first hospital in New Jersey to offer deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) – a non-invasive treatment for depression that provides new hope for patients who have experienced side effects from medications or for whom medications have proven ineffective. dTMS is a non-invasive technique that uses magnetic pulses to painlessly penetrate the cranium and target the prefrontal cortex of the brain, where mood is regulated. It works by stimulating neurons responsible for depressive symptoms and restoring neuronal conduction, along with equilibrium of brain chemicals, in the neural pathways of the brain. The outpatient treatment is comprises 20-minute sessions with almost no side effects, and does not disrupt a patient’s daily activity. Most patients experience improvement after four to six weeks of treatment.