April 16, 2018
CEO Corner April 2018
In the nearly five years since becoming CEO of Peace River Center, there have been many policy and practice changes that impact those we serve. But one thing seems to stay consistent—the need for accessible mental health services continues to grow. In the few months since our last edition, there have been several unfortunate events that raise the question, “What more can we do to help and who can we turn to for help?”
As your community behavioral health resource, we are here to help. We have dedicated professionals, investing in people to create positive impact. One way we provide access is through our Crisis Response Team (CRT), a group of compassionate people available to talk by phone, mobile response to any location in Polk and Hardee counties, or by walk-in at two of our locations (Bartow and Lakeland). Crisis calls can be made by anyone, at any time, from anywhere 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Five years ago, Peace River Center collaborated with Lakeland Regional Health, Polk County Health Department along with its partners, and The Polk HealthCare Plan to provide Integrated Care Services (medical and behavioral health services provided together) for Polk County’s neediest residents. Since then, we have expanded this approach to care with additional partners: Lakeside Pediatrics in Lakeland, Central Florida Health Care at several of their locations in Polk and Highlands counties, and WellCare as its first designated Behavioral Health Home in Florida. These services have increased access to care; reduced and avoided unnecessary emergency room use; and, reduced hospitalization while providing less costly, alternative outpatient options for the populations we serve.
As many of you already know, the Lakeland Crisis Stabilization Inpatient Unit opened its doors on January 24 and subsequently our Outpatient Services on February 26. The Lakeland Crisis Campus expands our services to provide an additional 10 beds for adults and 10 beds for children/adolescents.
As another important legislative session closes, we know many changes will trickle down and have an impact locally. Peace River Center is committed to serving our communities and offering services to individuals, children and families struggling from behavioral health issues and substance use as well as victims of violence and sexual abuse. Our programs focus on restoring health and improving the quality of life for those we serve.
We can’t thank you enough for your ongoing support and we ask that you continue to spread awareness about Peace River Center.
If you have any questions about our services, please contact Access to Care at 863.248.3311.
J. William Gardam, MBA
Chief Executive Officer