by Andrea Roy, Communications Director, Fountain House
and Camille Tibaldeo, Communications Manager, Fountain Gallery
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:159:]][[wysiwyg_imageupload:160:]]On June 14, New York State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, was the featured speaker as The Sidney Baer Center, a medical facility integrating physical and behavioral health and wellness, cut the ribbon at its new location, 347 West 37th Street in Manhattan. A joint project of Fountain House and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, The Baer Center has been providing for the psychiatric and physical health needs of Fountain House members for more than a decade; the renovation of its new location was funded by the Sidney R. Baer, Jr. Foundation.
The expansion of the Baer Center is timely, as rising Medicaid expenses have caused states to adopt cost-effective new strategies to improve services among heavy users of the system. In New York, people with serious mental illness, many of whom also have chronic chemical dependency and medical disorders, are among the 20% of special needs Medicaid recipients who are driving 75% of spending. The Center has been in the forefront as a model of one such solution now attracting interest nationwide: the “health home,” a person-centered system of care that facilitates access to and coordination of a complement of physical health services, behavioral health care, and long-term community-based supports. The Baer Center currently provides psychiatric services to 300 Fountain House members and primary medical care to 500; it is expected that the expansion will allow the Center to double that patient load.
The Center plans to further advance its mission by integrating fitness, nutrition, and mind-body programming at Fountain House’s soon-to-be-launched Lewis Wellness Center and including this data with medical data in electronic records. Another goal is to provide healthy meals as part of a greater integration of services aiming toward a comprehensive wellness initiative.