GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — In April 2019, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services opened the first Psychiatric Urgent Care Center in West Michigan. But, what exactly is psychiatric urgent care and when would you use it?

Megan Zambiasi, director of the new center, answers these questions and more.

What is psychiatric urgent care?
If you think about regular urgent care … it provides medical service for when you have a serious issue that you can’t wait days or weeks to see your primary care physician but not so serious that it requires going to the emergency room.

Psychiatric Urgent Care is similar. We can see people when there is a serious behavioral health issue that the person can’t wait months for a first appointment and assessment with a psychiatrist, but yet the person isn’t in a psychiatric crisis that needs hospitalization.

When should a person go to psychiatric urgent care?
We are hoping that any adult having trouble managing daily activities—like going to work, taking care of themselves, etc. —because of psychiatric symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, disturbing thoughts, substance use, etc. will come to the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center. We can help them start recovering right away. That’s the primary reason we opened the Center… to help people in our communities get better faster.

Part of our service is to make sure every patient has an aftercare plan before they leave. Most of the time, the aftercare plan will include medication and/or outpatient therapy. If their symptoms are more severe, we can refer them into a higher level of care such as an inpatient psychiatric facility, an intensive daily program of outpatient treatment, or a residential detox facility.

When should a person go to the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center as opposed to the Emergency Room?
If it’s a person’s first time ever experiencing severe psychiatric symptoms, we do recommend they visit the emergency room because this flare up might be related to an acute medical issue. Also, we recommend going to the emergency room if the person has any physical injuries that need medical treatment to stabilize (like cuts, gashes, broken bones) or is impaired from substance use.

Who can use the service?
The program is open for adults ages 18-65.

Do I need to make an appointment?
Walk-ins are welcome.  You can also call ahead for a same-day appointment.

Does insurance cover this new service?
Most commercial insurance covers urgent care including Medicare and Medicaid health plans. If someone has Medicaid, they should definitely call ahead since some plans require pre-authorization.

Learn more about the Psychiatric Urgent Care Center: 616-455-9200 or visit pinerest.org/urgent.

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