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Wednesday, June 28, 2006 - SJH Expands Mental Health Services

SJH Expands Mental Health Services in Bridgeton
Ribbon Cutting for New Child/Adolescent Unit on June 28

BRIDGETON, NJ (June 28) – With the opening of its new Child/Adolescent Intermediate Care Mental Health Unit, South Jersey Healthcare provides a continuum of care that is unmatched in southern New Jersey. The new 12-bed unit, located in the Bridgeton Health Center, will serve children and teens from the state’s nine southern-most counties.

The health system held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new unit on Wednesday, June 28 at 2 p.m. in the lobby of the SJH Bridgeton Health Center on Irving Avenue. Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, spoke at the event.

“The opening of our intermediate unit brings a much needed service to our region,” said Patrick Smith, Ph.D., administrator for SJH Mental Health Services. “In the past, families from South Jersey had no choice but to travel to Monmouth County to receive this intermediate level of care.”

The designation “intermediate care” indicates an average length of stay of approximately 60 days, and a maximum length of stay of 90 days. According to Smith, a majority of the patients will come from the southern region’s two inpatient child crisis units, one of which is also located at the Bridgeton Health Center. Other patients may be referred from residential behavioral health facilities, such as Ranch Hope in Salem County.

“For some children and adolescents it takes longer to respond to medication and therapy,” said Smith. “The intermediate care unit will give our doctors and staff the needed time to help many of these children return to their families.”

The addition of intermediate care will also make for a smoother, almost seamless transition for children who move from one level of care to another. In addition to its existing short-term child crisis intervention unit and the new intermediate care unit, SJH also offers full-day partial care and outpatient counseling services for children and teens.

Although licensed to care for children ages 5 to 17, past experience suggests that a vast majority of the intermediate care patients will be 12 or older. Treatment options and staffing ratios in the new unit will be virtually the same as those of the existing short-term unit, which opened in 1991. State licensing also mandates that both units are prohibited from admitting anyone who has committed a violent crime.

The new unit opened on March 9 and admitted four patients in its first two days of operation. Twenty-four full-time equivalent positions were created to staff the unit. SJH also recently opened a Hospice Inpatient Center at the Bridgeton Health Center. The facility also provides a variety of outpatient services including radiology, laboratory services and physical therapy.

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of Southern New Jersey residents. Please visit to learn more.

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