Los Angeles country made national headlines over the summer for their decision to use a $1 million health care grant to construct an emergency mental health urgent care center in hope of keeping the mentally ill out of jail. The goal of the newly erected Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical center is treat and evaluate patients experiencing a mental health crisis while connecting them with long-term care. Additionally, the center was created to ease the burden on short-staffed mental health emergency departments.
While the concept of mental health urgent care centers is fairly new, the urgent care movement itself began nearly forty years ago during the social revolution of the 1970’s. Since that time, the popularity of urgent care facilities has taken off, as they continue to bridge the gap between traditional physician offices and hospital emergency departments. However, it seems that mental health urgent care services are now garnering national attention, with many feeling they are a necessity.
It seems that Los Angeles County has set an example for the rest of the country. Earlier this year, a pediatric mental health urgent care center opened in Portsmouth, NH. The clinic serves are a new model for mental health urgent care. Although the new facility focus on pediatrics, it’s hoped it’s opening will spark interest in other mental health urgent care clinics. Recently, Governor Patrick McCrory of North Carolina recently vowed to make mental health urgent care reform a top priority for state.