New center aims to address gaps in mental health services for children and adolescents
Children, adolescents and families now have a new option for mental health care in the region: Samaritan Mental Health Family Center. In early May, the Center was launched under the direction of psychiatrists Tim Blumer, DO, and Mike May, MD, to address the essential needs of the region.
“Ask any parent of a child with a mental health issue about access to care. They’ll tell you it’s practically impossible,” said Blumer (pictured here).
Frequently, waiting lists for the few child psychiatrists in the region can extend up to six months. Local psychologists, social workers and counselors who work with children and teens also have long waiting lists. When a child is in crisis, even suicidal, parents have few options, and families often end up in the emergency department.
“Can you imagine being in this situation and being told there is a waiting list to be seen?” Blumer asked. “We need a greater range of mental health services readily available to these families — outpatient services that can help kids who don’t require hospitalization.”
With these challenges in mind, Samaritan Mental Health Family Center was developed to provide comprehensive mental health care and coordinate services for children, teens and their families in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties. The Center’s first steps included hiring a licensed professional counselor, Kiri Horsey. A child psychiatrist and neuropsychologist will also join the Center to continue to expand its capacity.
The Center is designed to be collaborative and will work closely with other mental health providers within Samaritan and the community to address the gaps in care for children and adolescents. The new program will allow Blumer and his colleagues to provide more clinical evaluations and treatment to hundreds of existing and new patients in the region, and the new providers will offer support groups for children, teens and parents. All of this will be made possible thanks to support from Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation donors.
“If we develop a mental health system that is proactive, we can provide urgent services as well as proactive services to help families avoid crisis situations,” Blumer said. “I see it growing into something quite comprehensive, making things better for children, teens and families in our communities.”
Cancer Center project takes shape
"This is the single best thing I think we can do for patients and the community. Hopefully it will be a legacy I help leave to our community."
This is how Peter Kenyon, MD, medical director of Samaritan Regional Cancer Center, describes plans to build a new cancer center on the hospital campus. Hospital executives and medical staff are currently working on blue prints detailing what the new center will look like.
There are numerous pressing reasons for the creation of a new cancer center. Among them are rising patient volumes and the addition of more oncologists to care for them. There are now six oncologists providing treatment at Samaritan Regional Cancer Center. In addition, clinical staff have identified the need to put infusion services, radiation oncology and medical oncology all in one central location—so that patients and staff don’t have to travel across the hospital campus.
The new cancer center will eliminate scattered services, enhance healing space, meet a growing community need for cancer care and keep patients close to home for treatment. The current cost estimate for the project stands at $14 million.
Mario Pastega House offers resource for patients and families
The Mario Pastega House on the Good Sam campus is a comfortable “home away from home” for out-of-area patients and families traveling to Corvallis for specialized medical care. The house opened in the summer of 2004 after the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation completed a successful fund drive to build the facility and establish an endowment to help support its ongoing operation. Multiple opportunities exist for donors to help ensure that everyone who needs the Mario Pastega House has access. For example, donors may purchase engraved pavers to grace the entrance, patio, gazebo and walkways of the guest house. Donations range from $100 for a 4 x 8-inch paver to $1,000 for a 12 x 12-inch paver. Friends of the guest house also may support a night’s stay by donating the $20 suggested nightly fee that some guests may not be able to afford.
To ensure no one is turned away for inability to pay, the Mario Pastega House offers an “Adopt-A-Day” program. For a gift of $517, the cost of operating the house for one full day, you can adopt a day at the house to be named in your honor or in honor/memory of a loved one.
Your generous donation will be recognized in the following ways:
- Name listed in the Mario Pastega House online calendar
- Name recognition on TV monitor at Mario Pastega House entry for the entire day(s) adopted
- Award certificate listing individual name(s) to be honored and the date(s) reserved (makes a terrific birthday gift)
- The satisfaction of knowing you are helping an average of 12 people for each day adopted find peace, comfort and relief from stress during one of life’s most difficult periods.
You can adopt your day(s) by contacting the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation at (541) 768-6129.
Download the Mario Pastega House "Adopt-A-Day" calendar.