YNHHS begins process of integrating psychiatry and behavioral health services

Last fall, a psychiatric leadership steering group from Yale New Haven Health System’s delivery networks began discussing ways to integrate services across the system.

One of their first steps was choosing a name for the new service line – which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Some of the hospitals call their services “psychiatry,” others use “behavioral health” and others, “counseling.” The different terms highlight the challenges in standardizing and coordinating a variety of independently operated services throughout YNHHS.

Ultimately, after surveying people inside and outside the health system, including patient and family advisory group members, the steering group decided to call the new service line Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services.

“Our goals are to offer personalized care that best meets the diverse needs of patients in the communities we serve,” said Michael Holmes, senior vice president, Operations, YNHH. “We also want to ensure we’re providing the same level of innovative care across the health system.”

The name change is the first step in a process that will shift the focus from treating acute illness to supporting patients’ wellness. The new YNHHS Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services will provide “destination-hospital” programs, similar to those available through Yale New Haven Hospital’s Interventional Psychiatry Service (IPS). The IPS offers advanced treatments and novel psychosocial services to patients with severe depression and other complex psychiatric illnesses, and is also engaged in research.

In addition to Holmes, the psychiatric leadership steering group includes Joseph Flynn, MD, Greenwich Hospital; Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, medical director, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital; Marc Kosak, senior vice president, Administration, Greenwich Hospital; Charles J. Morgan, MD, chair of Psychiatry, Bridgeport Hospital; Peter Morgan, MD, chair of Psychiatry, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital; and Mark Sevilla, vice president, Behavioral Health and Emergency Services, YNHH.

The steering committee meets monthly and oversees the various Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services strategic initiatives.

“Our efforts are focused internally, throughout the health system, as well as externally, in identifying community partners that will advance our vision,” Holmes said.