RiverValley Behavioral Health Hospital for Children expanded its services this week to include a walk-in and direct referral clinic for children ages 5 to 17 who need immediate or urgent psychiatric assessments.

The walk-in clinic at 1000 Industrial Drive will be open between 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

The clinic opened for the first time Tuesday.

Depending on need, those times and days may expand.

When it comes to physician referrals, a RVBH psychiatrist may assess the child within 48 hours. Often, the assessment will be done the day of the referral.

“RiverValley is dedicated to meeting the needs of children and families,” said Amy Rowan, vice president of RVBH Hospital. “We truly believe this will be a service that will help children and families get the help they need.”

The new clinic will allow for the direct referral to services, such as therapies, case management, in-home services or any other mental health service offered in the community.

When psychiatric medication is needed, recommendations will be made and initial doses may be prescribed at the walk-in clinic. Followup with a medical provider will be scheduled.

Communication with all involved agencies and professionals will be a clinic priority, Rowan said. The referring provider will be informed quickly of assessment results.

Even if a family member initiates the assessment via a walk-in visit, clinic personnel will obtain information on agencies or providers who already are involved in the child’s care and will communicate quickly with them.

“The continuity of care this walk-in clinic will provide will be inspirational,” Rowan said.

Local pediatric physicians have often talked about the need for urgent and immediate mental health services, said Dr. David Harmon, RVBH child psychiatrist and medical director.

RVBH has tried to come up with solutions in the past, but, for various reasons, the systems didn’t work the way officials wanted.

“I am confident this is going to work,” Harmon said.

During the next year, the new program will be reviewed every 30 to 60 days to ensure it continues to meet the community’s needs.

Everyone who comes to the clinic will be served, regardless of ability to pay.

“No one will be turned away,” Rowan said.

Next month, RVBH plans to have a mobile crisis team ready for service. That team will serve people of all ages and will be available around the clock.

For more information about RVBH’s new walk-in clinic, call 270-689-6800 and ask for Lana Brooks, clinic coordinator.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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