OSWEGO - Officials from throughout Oswego County gathered Oct. 10 to kick off what will be a big step in providing treatment for behavioral and mental health in the county.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on the former Price Chopper Site on East Cayuga Street, Oswego, for the new Oswego Health behavioral health services inpatient and outpatient facility.

Oswego Health will construct a facility specifically built to provide this specialized care. The health system will renovate 42,000 square feet of the former grocery store to feature 32 inpatient beds. Patients will find the new location offering a welcoming, soothing and healing environment that includes secure outdoor spaces, comfortable interior areas and a kitchen area.

The building itself will be landscaped to match the neighborhood and will be well-maintained.

In July 2017, Oswego Health was awarded a $13 million grant from the state Department of Health for the transformation of its behavioral health services in the county. The money will allow Oswego Health to construct the new 32-bed inpatient unit and related outpatient behavioral health clinic facilities at 29 E. Cayuga St.

To help those who utilize these services become healthier overall, primary care services will be available onsite. Services that are offered currently at the Behavioral Health Services Bunner Street location, the outpatient clinic and Assertive Community Treatment Team also will be relocated to the new facility.

Also, the facility is a short drive from the Oswego Hospital emergency room, making it more convenient for physicians and other staff members.

The purposes of the project are to:

n Improve the overall financial condition and long-term sustainability of Oswego Health;

n Transform Behavioral Health Services to a new model of care with the resulting impact of enhancing behavioral health services in Oswego County; and

n Preserve behavioral health services in the county.

Construction is expected to take 12 months with an anticipated opening for the site in October 2020.

Oswego Health is the only behavioral health services inpatient and outpatient provider in Oswego County, making Oswego Health also the only comprehensive behavioral health provider in the county. In an evaluation of other Upstate communities, Oswego Health is one of the few organizations responsible for the emergency, inpatient and outpatient behavioral services in an entire County.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place to honor World Mental Health Day and all attendees were presented with green ribbons to join in the movement to help raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health.

Remarks were given by Michael Harlovic, president and chief executive officer for Oswego Health; Jeff Coakley, chief operating officer for Oswego Health and local and state elected officials.

For more information about Oswego Health, go to www.oswegohealth.org.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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