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ICYMI: Comprehensive mental health center opens in Asheville

Asheville

Under Governor McCrory's administration, the Crisis Solutions Initiative, administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, focuses on identifying and implementing the best known strategies for crisis care while reducing avoidable visits to emergency departments and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Comprehensive mental health center opens in Asheville 

Julie Ball
Asheville Citizen-Times
April 21, 2016
 

ASHEVILLE - A new facility aims to provide a “one-stop shop” with a range of mental health services in a single location including 24-hour crisis services.

“This facility really is bringing all of the services, from prevention to crisis care, under one roof,” said Sandy Feutz, vice president of operations at RHA Health Services.

RHA operates the center located in the former Western Highlands building at 356 Biltmore Avenue, but it is a partnership involving Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, Mission Health, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, Buncombe County, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Representatives of those organizations gathered at the new C3356 Comprehensive Care Center for a ribbon cutting Thursday.

The event featured North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Rick Brajer.

The project came together in two years, and Brajer said that “really speaks to the spirit of partnership.”

The various groups applied for grant funding from the State Division of Mental Health Crisis Solutions Initiative.

Smoky Mountain, which merged with Western Highlands and had been occupying the building, moved so RHA could make use of the building.

“This building has a long history of being the place where people got mental health services, and that’s one of the reasons it was so important for us to be here. It has close proximity to the hospital, so hopefully people will choose to come here instead of going to the hospital,” Feutz said.

The facility should relieve some pressure on Mission Hospital’s emergency department, officials say.

“Their emergency department has been overwhelmed with people that are in psychiatric crisis for quite some time, and we all know that’s not the best way for individuals to get treatment for their psychiatric needs,” Feutz said.

RHA’s adult outpatient services moved into the building last July. Last month, the peer living room program opened.

Right now, the facility offers behavioral urgent care 12 hours a day, seven days a week. RHA hopes to expand that to 24 hours a day in early June.

“They can walk through our door, and we will do an assessment and we will figure out where they need to be,” Feutz said.

In addition, RHA plans to move the 16 beds for adult crisis and detox from the Neil Dobbins Center to the C3356 Comprehensive Care Center. That move will likely take place in early fall. The facility also has eight observation areas.

ABCCM will have a pharmacy that can provide free medications to qualified uninsured Buncombe County residents. A separate retail pharmacy is also planned for the site.

“One of the great things about this facility is all the services that people can receive here,” said Brian Ingraham, chief executive officer of Smoky Mountain. “It’s such a logical, well-thought-out collection of services.”

Having everything under one roof will help provide “continuity across levels of care,” Feutz said.

Someone can complete an in-patient stay, and “literally we can walk them upstairs to meet their outpatient therapist," she said.

Eventually, the Comprehensive Care Center will be able to handle involuntary commitments, Feutz said.

“And that’s actually going to help the emergency room right away because once we’re able to do that, there are well over 100 people a month that law enforcement currently drops off at Mission ER that will now come here,” she said.

Once the Neil Dobbins Center beds are relocated, that building will be converted to a crisis facility for adolescents and children. Family Preservation Services will operate that facility.

Need help?

Visit or call 828-254-2700 for more information about services offered through the C3356 Comprehensive Care Center.