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Glens Falls Hospital Seeks New Providers For Outpatient Mental Health Services

Glens Falls Hospital is changing its approach to mental healthcare in Warren and Washington Counties. The hospital says it cannot meet the demand for outpatient behavioral health services and is looking for potential new providers.

For four decades, Glens Falls Hospital has had a relationship with Warren and Washington Counties to help the counties meet their state mandated requirements for outpatient mental health services.

Currently, the hospital operates substance abuse services at recovery centers in Glens Falls in Warren County, and Hudson Falls in Washington County. Adult and children outpatient behavioral health services are provided at clinics in Glens Falls.

But Paul Scimeca, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Glens Falls Hospital, says as more people have come forward in need of services, wait times have increased. That’s led to ongoing conversations about the future of such care.

“We’ve seen an increasing demand and have struggled to meet the needs of those community members. This is not a unique problem to us in our region, here, actually, throughout the state, as well as throughout the country. There are just simply not enough providers to meet the growing demand in this area, particularly in the area of substance abuse,” said Scimeca.

Scimeca says inpatient mental health services at the hospital will not be affected. Emergency room visits, for example.

“Those are programs that are not changing, that will continue to be offered here.”

Rob York is Director of Community Services for the Office of Community Services for Warren and Washington Counties. The office serves as the Mental Health Department for both counties. He says the state must approve any potential changes to the healthcare landscape.

“We’ll be working with the hospital and the state agencies through their formal process. Any new providers identified would have to apply to the state and be approved and certified for licensure to operate the clinic services,” said York.

The state Office of Mental Health, the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, and the Department of Health would need to approve any new program offerings.

York says he is confident that any change would not lead to a gap in services.

“Yes, we’re confident of that,” said York.

Since the hospital announced the move August 21st, Scimeca says the healthcare provider has seen interest from others who could move into Washington and Warren Counties.

“We’ve been approached by several providers who are well established and are very experienced in providing services in this area. They have been in contact with the county, they have been in contact with us as well. And we’re working with them to help them understand our current program offerings, as well as to understand the need in the community and to identify how they might able to bring resources into the community to not only meet the current need, but to expand capacity to care for additional individuals,” said Scimeca.

In the press release, Dianne Shugrue, CEO of Glens Falls Hospital, said in part:

“We are taking the time to do this right, and we are engaging in conversations with a variety of non-profit organizations who share our same commitment to caring for this vulnerable population.”

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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