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Date Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Date Updated: Monday, July 18, 2022

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro & WMCHealth Announce Creation of Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital

Announcement follows investment from County Executive Molinaro to provide $3 million in funding for public-private partnership to transform mental health services available in Dutchess County

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POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (June 28, 2022) — Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro and Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) today announced plans to create a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital, leveraging private and public resources to establish a holistic approach to providing in-patient mental health services in Dutchess County. County Executive Molinaro previously announced that Dutchess County will provide $3 million in funding for the project, an investment that will go towards permanently adding 20 inpatient behavioral health beds at MHRH – increasing the total number of available mental health beds at this facility to 60. 

Establishing a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital will provide a high-quality standard of care for behavioral health patients in Dutchess County and surrounding areas. The funding provided by Dutchess County will facilitate updates to MidHudson Regional Hospital's inpatient behavioral health units, including shared community spaces and nursing stations in these areas, in order to enhance the healing environment while prioritizing a safe environment for patients and workforce members. 

"Dutchess County has long prioritized the importance of mental health, and the forthcoming Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital represents Dutchess County's latest commitment – an unprecedented dedication of funding, resources and staff, unlike any seen anywhere else in the Hudson Valley – to ensure those living with mental health issues receive the compassionate care they deserve, close to home," said Marcus J. Molinaro, Dutchess County Executive. "This new center, the result of an extraordinary public-private partnership, will not only change lives, it will save them.  This is part of our ongoing investment in strengthening the mental health continuum of care. We thank Westchester Medical Center Health Network for its support and willingness to be an active partner in this life-saving collaboration."

"Creating a Center of Excellence to address the community's behavioral health needs will benefit Dutchess County tremendously and complement our work throughout the Hudson Valley to deliver quality behavioral health care while expanding and enhancing these vital services in the communities we serve," said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO, WMCHealth. "We are very grateful for County Executive Molinaro's support for the project and look forward to collaborating with the County Executive and his office to strengthen mental health services in Poughkeepsie and the surrounding region." 

While delivering improvements to the inpatient units is a priority, the partnership between WMCHealth and Dutchess County extends to establishing a continuum of care between private and public resources that will help ensure the best possible behavioral health patient outcomes. 

As part of this expanded approach, WMCHealth and Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health will partner to embed County staff at the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital. This will help facilitate a seamless transition for discharged patients to continue their recovery by utilizing the extensive behavioral health programs available throughout Dutchess County for residents with mental health or substance use issues, using every available resource to help ensure the appropriate support for our patients to recover. Creating a Center of Excellence also means establishing an approach to mental health services that best serves patients, such as focusing on delivering trauma informed care, which is training clinical staff to have an informed understanding of the role that trauma has likely played in the lives of individuals in need of mental health services.

WMCHealth also announced last month that 20 inpatient mental health beds will be located in the expanded HealthAlliance Hospital on Mary's Avenue in Kingston, NY, bringing the total inpatient mental health beds available at WMCHealth facilities in Dutchess and Ulster Counties to 80. WMCHealth is the largest provider of behavioral health services in the Hudson Valley with a total of 205 inpatient behavioral health beds throughout the Network.

The plan to expand the number of inpatient units to create a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital requires approval by the New York State Department of Health and New York State Office of Mental Health, after which the WMCHealth will work to finalize design and planning for the renovations. Construction on the project will be phased in order to avoid temporarily needing to take a significant number of crucial inpatient behavioral health beds offline for an extended period. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed late next year. 

About Westchester Medical Center Health Network

The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with nine hospitals on seven campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 13,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. The Network has Level I (adult and pediatric), Level II and Level III trauma centers, the region's only acute care children's hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes and centers, Comprehensive and Primary Stroke Centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, home-care services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State. Today, WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated health care in the Hudson Valley. For more information about WMCHealth, visit WMCHealth.org or follow WMCHealth on Facebook.com/WMCHealth or Instagram.com/WMCHealth.

About Dutchess County

Under the guidance of County Executive Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County has long been recognized as a statewide leader in behavioral health services, having opened its Stabilization Center, the first facility of its kind in New York State, in 2017 as a model for other counties throughout the Hudson Valley and state to replicate. Dutchess County's HELPLINE – available 24/7 via text or call at (845) 485-9700 – has been honored nationally for its life-saving efforts. Additionally, Dutchess County's Department of Behavioral and Community Health offers trauma-informed care, its Mobile Crisis Intervention Team and Youth Mental First Aid, among other resources available to residents, organizations, school districts and businesses – embodying the County's commitment to improving mental health throughout the community.