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January 25, 2024

New York State Office of Mental Health Funding to Support Plans for New Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program and Outpatient Services Including Intensive Levels of Care

BRONX, NY—January 25, 2024 – Montefiore Health System has been designated as a New York State Office of Mental Health Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (COE) and awarded a $7 million grant as part of this program. Montefiore was selected to receive the COE designation and associated funds by Fidelis Care, Healthfirst and MetroPlusHealth for its ability to address gaps in the New York City behavioral health system using a blend of robust education and care to help patients, especially those on Medicaid, manage serious mental health concerns.

Plans for the funding include significant enhancements to the existing adult psychiatric observation suite at Montefiore’s Henry & Lucy Moses Division Emergency Department with up to six extended-observation beds, allowing for specialized care for up to 72-hours. A team with advanced training will treat patients and guide them to the most appropriate care setting. Additional planned services at the new Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program include case management, arts therapy and a mobile crisis team. With this funding, Montefiore also plans to open an intensive partial hospitalization program for adults (ages 18 and up), a new child outpatient psychiatry clinic in the South Bronx and pilot new models of care, where people who have had firsthand experiences with mental health conditions will provide support as patients transition to community settings.

“Emergency visits for mental health and substance misuse have been on the rise for more than a decade, and in the Bronx we have the highest rates of psychiatric hospitalizations and serious psychological distress in New York City,” said Salimah Velji, MBA, MPH, unified executive administrator, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “By introducing new services like partial hospitalization programs, we can ensure each person is cared for in the most appropriate setting and help to reduce wait times for all levels of treatment. We are incredibly grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul and the NYS Department of Health and Office of Mental Health for their serious and sincere commitment to address mental health and ensure no one ‘falls through the cracks’.” 

Bridging the Gap Between Inpatient and Outpatient Care 

Adult partial hospitalization programs create an option for people who require intensive care but can still be safe in their community and return to the comfort of their homes in the evening. With Montefiore’s planned new program, up to 25 people at a time with severe mood and anxiety disorders, including suicidal thoughts, can spend the day (20+ hours weekly) in individual and group settings working towards their goals with the support of psychiatrists and psychologists, nurse practitioners, social workers, creative arts therapists and peer specialists, serving as mentors. 

Bronx youth, of whom 70,000 are living with mental health disorders and diseases, can benefit from new service locations. Another planned use of funds includes a new outpatient psychiatry clinic at the Montefiore Behavioral Health Center (Washington Avenue location) and would bring more providers to a zip code with only a handful of clinics for this population. 

At Montefiore’s existing pediatric and adolescent clinics, the funds could support a new compensation model for staff helping us offer appointments during evening and weekend hours, which will be more convenient for patients and alleviate stressors around missing school or work.

“This new funding is integral to reimagining and advancing how we not only deliver mental healthcare but also empower our Bronx community,” said Jonathan E. Alpert, M.D., Ph.D., Silverman University Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Our planned new comprehensive services are representative of our continued efforts to reduce barriers to treatment and bring a new level of access to expert mental healthcare in this borough.”

Additional funds are allocated for the hiring, professional development and recruitment efforts associated with staffing these services.



About Montefiore Health System

Montefiore Health System is one of New York’s premier academic health systems. It is a recognized leader in providing exceptional quality and personalized, accountable care to approximately three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester, and the Hudson Valley. It comprises ten hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, and over two hundred outpatient ambulatory care sites. The advanced clinical and translational research at its medical school, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, directly informs patient care and improves outcomes. From the Montefiore-Einstein Centers of Excellence in cancer, cardiology and vascular care, pediatrics, and transplantation, to its preeminent school-based health program, Montefiore is a fully integrated healthcare delivery system providing coordinated, comprehensive care to patients and their families. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, or view us on Facebook and YouTube.