Eastside Medical Center
October 31, 2017

Eastside Medical Center celebrated 20 years of behavioral health services with a community open house on Thursday, October 26th, at their south campus hospital located at 2160 Fountain Drive in Snellville, Georgia.

At this event, Eastside Medical Center honored the past, celebrated the present, and shared their excitement and commitment to the future of behavioral health services within their system of care and beyond. Recognition was given to Eastside’s behavioral health physician team that trail blazed the path to building the hospital’s program over the years. Eastside’s behavioral health physicians include Dr. Jae Pak, Dr. Muhammad Ahmed, Dr. Joshua Morris, Dr. Russel Wagner, and Dr. Jay Weinstein. Pauline Phipps and Brenda Samuels, behavioral health caretakers at Eastside Medical Center, were given recognition for being a dedicated part of the program since inception 20 years ago.

Attendees heard from Eastside Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer, Trent Lind, and Vice President of Behavioral Health, Margaret Collier about the hospital’s vision for the future in regards to mental health services.

“Above all else our ‘why’ is our commitment to those whom we serve and our efforts to improve the quality of human life,” stated Margaret Collier, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Eastside Medical Center, “1 out of 4 individuals in America are diagnosed with a mental illness and every 19 minutes someone dies from an accidental overdose. This is certainly a crisis, not only in our community, but within the state of Georgia and further, our nation.”

Eastside Medical Center has recognized the need to provide a behavioral health program that continues to expand year over year to meet the needs of the growing community as mental health services continue to be an underserved healthcare need throughout our community and the state of Georgia. Over the last two decades, the hospital has increased behavioral health beds from 10 to 61 and expanded services to include geriatric and adult services, as well as ECT therapy.

In July of 2017, Eastside announced that they have collaborated with Navigate Recovery Gwinnett to build a program that will provide peer recovery coaches to patients in need of this service during their visit to the emergency room. Navigate Recovery’s peer recovery program, LIFELINE, connects with people who have overdosed, or those who are at high risk for overdoses, and their families with peer-to-peer recovery support coaches, every day, 24/7. Peer recovery support services like LIFELINE have been highly effective in combating the opioid crisis in other parts of the country. Training has been taking place between Navigate Recovery, Eastside Medical Center caregivers and staff, and peer recovery coaches over the last several months. The program aims to launch in Eastside’s Main and South ER locations late Fall of this year.

“We are intentional about working hard to improve our patient experiences and performance with every new opportunity,” explained Margaret Collier, “We are growing and developing to improve and sustain our behavioral health services to meet this community’s need. We are also changing the way we collaborate with human service agencies such as NAMI, the Alzheimer’s Association, Navigate Recovery, Viewpoint, other human services agencies, and one another to create a safety net and reduce the stigma and fear associated with mental illness and substance abuse. With the support of our community partners, we look forward to changing the way we treat mental health and addiction in Gwinnett, surrounding communities, and the state of Georgia.”

Eastside also made a big announcement at this event! In May of 2018, Eastside Medical Center will open a 10-bed Medical Psychiatric Unit at their south campus hospital. This unit will have the ability to treat patients with primary medical conditions with a psychiatric component. The hospital looks forward to continuing to provide the highest quality of behavioral health services to their community in the many years to come.