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National ‘Living Room’ Model Funded for Partnership Between Ellis Mental Health Clinic and Rehabilitation Support Services

August 15, 2018

Alliance for Better Health, a Performing Provider System under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, announced an award of $424,000 to the Ellis Mental Health Clinic in partnership with Rehabilitation Support Services (RSS), to establish “The Living Room,” a resource that will serve as an alternative to Emergency Departments for individuals with mental health crises.

Based on a national best practice model, which has already demonstrated a savings of over $500,000 with a 93% deflection rate from the Emergency Department in its first year of operationi, the Ellis/RSS Living Room will be open 12-8pm, aligned with the timing of high Emergency Department utilization by individuals experiencing acute mental health crises.

In Schenectady County, there is a lack of alternative services for individuals experiencing mental health crises, which results in preventable use of the Emergency Department. Located in the Ellis Mental Health Clinic at 1023 State St. in Schenectady, The Living Room will be designed to resemble a living room in a home, with comfortable furnishings and therapeutic activities, to provide a safe environment that will diminish stress and facilitate recovery. With an anticipated opening at the end of 2018, the program will aim to serve 6-8 individuals per day which equates to 1500 visits per year. The new setting will be staffed by both a consulting nurse practitioner and mental health clinician from Ellis, as well as a care manager and peer specialist from RSS.

“Ellis has a decades-long tradition of helping individuals with mental illnesses lead productive and rewarding lives,” said Paul Milton, president and CEO of Ellis Medicine. “Last year, we made a significant investment in expanding and relocating the Mental Health Clinic. The Living Room is the natural extension of that investment. With more people seeking mental health treatment, we are boosting our capacity to serve the community alongside such trusted collaborators as Alliance for Better Health and Rehabilitation Support Services. We thank them for their support of, and teamwork with, this essential project.”

Jen DeCrescente, Program Director at RSS added, “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Alliance for Better Health and the Ellis Mental Health Clinic on The Living Room program. We are excited to provide a safe, comfortable environment for guests in our community as an alternative to hospital usage in times of crises.”

The Living Room is one of several Innovation Awards from the Alliance for Better Health 2018 Innovation Fund, established to help the greater Capital Region improve the lives and health of Medicaid Members and uninsured individuals. From this fund, Alliance is investing a total of $4.6 million in the community to partners from health care and community-based organizations working together to bring innovations to the market with a focus on addressing social determinants of health.

Alliance seeks to create a safety-net for experimentation, allowing partners to bring big ideas they would not ordinarily be able to fund or otherwise implement. As described by Alliance CEO, Jacob Reider, MD: “we know from work in other states and countries that investments addressing social determinants of health – including mental health, food insecurity, housing and transportation improve health and reduce overall health service costs, but until now, our community hasn’t had the resources to demonstrate this locally. Now we do. The Living Room is an extraordinary idea. We are happy to support its implementation and hope to see similar interventions across the region.” Reider added that “It seems so simple: if we help people before they land in the Emergency Department, their lives are better, and we save money. Saving money is the product of better health, and optimal health is something that everyone deserves.”


Download the press release here.

Alliance for Better Health

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