New Mental Health Partnership for SwedishAmerican

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- There are some big changes headed to SwedishAmerican Health System's mental health center. Rosecrance will now be in charge of both in-patient and out-patient facilities.

The emergency doors keep turning at SwedishAmerican Hospital as some patients with mental health problems flood the ER for days at a time.

"Being in our emergency room for 80 hours waiting for a soft-landing of where they're supposed to be treated for their behavioral health condition,” said Dr. Bill Gorski, President/CEO of SwedishAmerican Hospital.

To reduce that wait and provide better mental health care, SwedishAmerican is partnering with Rosecrance. The non-profit will manage the in-patient unit and buy the outpatient facility located in Camelot tower. That clinic will close March 1st and patients will move to a new location that is yet to be determined.

There will also be changes for employees. At least six workers in the outpatient facility won't be needed, but they may be able to get different jobs in the hospital. Psychiatrists and therapists will become Rosecrance employees, and nurses will remain employed under Swedes.

Although there are internal changes, health leaders say patients shouldn't notice much of a difference, just better service.

“Pulling together under one management system, and the continuum of care is going to provide better care for patients in our community,” said Rosecrance CEO Philip Eaton.

Workers at SwedishAmerican say they’ve been advised not to comment on the changes. Meantime, Gorski says financial struggles at SwedishAmerican’s mental health center did play a small role in the partnership, but it wasn’t the main reason.

Gorski also said that the closure of Singer Mental Health Center started the conversation about the deal and sped up the process, but that Swedes was the largest admitter to Singer from its emergency room. Gorski says they had been struggling with admittance for years, so they think this deal would’ve happened regardless.

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