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WellSpan Health opens mental health and addiction clinic in York to serve vulnerable patients with personalized care

This program called S.T.A.R.T provides a coordinated care experience for patients with urgent mental health and addiction needs.
Credit: WPMT

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — WellSpan Health has opened a one-stop clinic for vulnerable patients with mental health and substance use disorders. 

This program called S.T.A.R.T., also known as Specialized Treatment and Recovery Team, provides a coordinated care experience for patients with urgent mental health and addiction needs. 

The program surrounds patients with personalized resources and services at the right place and time while reducing trips to the emergency department.

"It's a program that's focused on the question of what is the most important thing to you right now and how can we help with that," said Dr. Mitchell Crawford, director of addiction services for WellSpan Health.

Crawford also said every feature of the building's layout and staff has the patient at the focus. 

"Every aspect of this program was designed whether it be the color on the wall the paintings that are up, the design of the buildings, the staff that are here, the programs we offer," said Crawford.

Diverse clinicians and staff have been recruited in the program to make an inclusive environment during treatment.

"When they see that your providers are of similar culture, background or, ethnicity there is a level of comfort there, right its-it establishes rapport easily," said Abigail Frimpong, CRNP at WellSpan Health.

WellSpan's Start program has partnered with Community Action for Recovery and Diversion (C.A.R.D.).

This initiative helps individuals receive treatment rather than incarceration when charged with minor crimes related to mental health and addiction illness.

The office will have probation and pretrial officers on-site to work with these individuals for proper care.

Amy Evans, the program director said as their partnership continues to grow, it could positively impact many residents.

"I expect that we will have hundreds and connections between the justice system and the Start center over the coming year," said Evans."I think as that partnership grows and develops and encompasses other care providers in the community that it can affect thousands of York County's citizens each year.

The certified community behavioral health clinic opened to patients on May 3. The program began seeing patients remotely in December 2020 due to the pandemic and has treated over 400 individuals.

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