HMH launches nation’s first ever urgent care center with behavior health services

Hackensack Meridian Health announced Friday it has launched the nation’s first-ever medically integrated urgent care center with behavioral health services.

The center will serve as a major part of a comprehensive strategy to improve access, better coordinate and innovate treatment to care for people with mental health issues and addiction.

“This first-of-a-kind concept will help us transform behavioral health care in New Jersey and beyond,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said. “It is so important that we give patients options for high-quality, convenient and affordable health care outside the walls of hospitals.”

Patients who use the new center will have access to a behavioral health team including mental health technicians, social workers, advanced practice nurses and telemedicine psychiatrists.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at the Hackensack Meridian Health urgent care center located at 2040 Route 33 in Neptune, across the street from Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

The health services will improve treatment by:

  • Increase access to treatment for behavioral health patients;
  • Provide more timely care for people who need to see a specialist;
  • Reduce the burden on already stressed hospital emergency departments;
  • Provide more coordinated and comprehensive care to improve patient outcomes;
  • Address the stigma of mental health by giving patients a safe and confidential place to access care;
  • Provide immediate access to more intensive care it necessary.

“Adding psychology to urgent care services allows us to treat patients with behavioral health issues in as non-stigmatizing and non-threatening a manner as possible,” Donald J. Parker, president of Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic and Behavioral Health Care Transformation Services, said.