Monday, November 17, 2008

You can thank Doug Trantham for the new Haywood Reg Hosp Behavioral Health Unit for mental health services

I'm not on the inside of SMC LME but from what I witnessed for 5+ years at meetings and as associated with correspondence and phone calls, there is one man in particular, who deserves the lion's share of thanks for the moving forward of these emergency psychiatric beds, namely, Doug Trantham (; and you can get him as easily on his phone at work as you can e mail him), Direct of Emergency Services.

26 inpatient psychiatric beds are now open for adults w/ primary mental health issues, both in Clyde, NC (the location of Haywood Regional Hospital, right next to Waynesville and 25 min from Asheville) as well as Linville, over an hour from Asheville.

If the other departments of SMC LME worked as well as this one managed by Mr. Trantham, citizens of western NC would have an amazing array of mental health services.

See the article in the Citizen Times today re: this matter.


New HRMC psychiatric unit is a joint effort

by Andre A. Rodriguez • • published November 17, 2008

".....State initiative

In 2007, the state legislature provided funding to create local service capacity to reduce use of the overburdened state hospital system. Smoky Mountain Center was one of four Local Management Entities selected to participate in this program.

Haywood Regional's Behavioral Health Unit and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville in Avery County are inpatient units opened in Smoky Mountain Center's coverage area through this public/private partnership.

With a total of 26 new adult psychiatric inpatient beds, Smoky Mountain Center is the only Local Management Entity in the state creating new inpatient capacity through the hospital pilot.

“This is part of a legislative initiative that brings some local services for mental health out into the region,” state Sen. Joe Sam Queen said. “The legislature puts great hope in this pilot.”


The Behavioral Health Unit will be staffed by psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers and community mental health assistants, also known as peer support workers.

“These peer support workers are people who have gone through some special training who have had some mental health and substance abuse problems and have been trained to be able to talk about that with other people about their recovery,” said Carl Losacco, a licensed clinical social worker with Smoky Mountain Center.

The idea behind the recovery model is to minimize alienation felt by people who have mental and substance abuse problems, he said.

“The part of the problem that is a barrier to recovery is feeling separated from the other people who are part of the community,” Losacco said. “A lot of it has to do with language particular around labels — labels that we will use, and labels that we want to avoid. For instance we don't want to say, ‘This person is a schizophrenic,' rather ‘This is someone with schizophrenia.'

“It may seem like semantics, but it becomes very important to people because we all are sensitive to the words that are used to describe us.”


The Behavioral Health Unit will admit patients ages 18-65, and older than 65 when appropriate, who have a primary psychiatric diagnosis requiring an inpatient level of care....."


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