Grand Strand Health’s behavioral health unit looks to expand

Grand Strand Health looks to expand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It’s been one year since Grand Strand Health Center opened its behavioral health unit at their South Strand Medical Center location.

The 20-bed adult inpatient behavioral health unit is the first and only in Horry County to be affiliated with a hospital system, and leaders said the center opened faster than any unit expected to open. The goal is to help take the load off emergency rooms and provide faster service for patients.

Dr. Christina Lynn, medical director of behavioral health services, said they serve over 900 people in the community over the first year and the feedback she’s received has been positive.

Since the unit is connected to the hospital system, they’re able to provide medical care, along with psychiatric care, to serve a larger portion of the county. The main goal is to ensure patients get the best treatment tailored to meet every individual’s specific needs.

In October, the behavioral health unit launched an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for those who don’t quite meet the needs for an inpatient program. Lynn said so far they’ve served around 30 patients in that program and have plans to expand.

“There is definitely still a need for behavioral health beds in this area. There’s a definite shortage. We are still having a backlog of patients in the emergency room. There are still patients waiting, there are still patients being transported across the state to get into beds," said Lynn.

Hospital leaders said they are constantly working on meeting the needs of the community. So, they’re trying to bring the service line up. Right now, a partial hospitalization program (PHP) is in the works to open by this spring. In addition to expanding the current programs available for adults, Lynn hopes to reach the younger demographic.

“As soon as I’ve got the adult program up, I know the community is screaming for children and adolescents. They tell me every time I go out into the community, ‘Please help us with children.’ That is coming. We know that they need help; we are looking to help them. Pretty much everything that the community is asking for, we’re looking to accommodate. It just takes us a little bit of time to get there. My future vision for this hospital is to keep growing,”Lynn said.

The intake staff is available to help answer any questions and guide residents to the right care. To contact the staff for any questions, call (843) 839-6112

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