February 11, 2020
Network’s major advances in New Jersey include opening state’s first urgent care behavioral health center, screening children in well visits for behavioral health issues
Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive health network, is pleased to announce that CEO Robert C. Garrett was a featured speaker at the 17th Annual Healthcare Conference at Harvard Business School and detailed new care models and innovative technology to improve treatment for mental illness and addiction.
“So many people are impacted by behavioral health issues and we’re proud to be on the front lines to help end stigma, to create more access to care and to innovate treatment,’’ Mr. Garrett said at the conference attended by 800 entrepreneurs, health care leaders and graduate students.
Through its 2019 merger with Carrier Clinic, Hackensack Meridian Health is making major advances in behavioral health care including: opening New Jersey’s first urgent care center with behavioral health treatment; screening 165,000 children for behavioral health issues in routine well visits and referring 10,000 for treatment; conducting research to better diagnose mental illness and provide more targeted therapy.
Behavioral health care is a major global and national issue. One in 5 adults in the U.S. suffers from mental illness. The federal government report a 33 % increase in suicide in the last 20 yrs. Suicide is 2nd leading cause of death for people 15-24. And life expectancy in the U.S. has declined 3 of the last 4 years, largely due to “diseases of despair’’ including drug addiction, alcoholism and suicide.
In addition to improving the delivery of behavioral health care, the network is supporting new technology to make care more accessible and convenient for patients. Hackensack Meridian is rapidly expanding tele-psychiatry in emergency departments throughout the network and is piloting programs in pediatric offices and primary care locations as well.
The Bear’s Den – a panel of experts that vets innovative tools the network may invest in – is also evaluating new technology that breaks down soundwaves in the human voice to better diagnosis and treat mental illness.
Additionally, the network is on schedule to open a comprehensive addiction treatment center in Mahwah New Jersey this year.