Outpatient Behavioral Health Debuts at West Suburban

Anan Abu-Taleb

More than 80 civic, community, and business leaders helped West Suburban Medical Center celebrate the opening of the hospital’s new Outpatient Behavioral Health Center at a ribbon cutting event held Thursday evening, March 10. The new center represents an important step forward in the hospital’s commitment to broaden its continuum of care to benefit patients.

In her opening remarks to the crowd, West Suburban CEO Barb Martin pointed out that the new center is the result of an ongoing community needs assessment along with a thorough review of ED patient volumes. Martin discussed how the hospital would previously discharge patients from the emergency room and refer them to another program with the hope that they would get the help they needed. Now, she says, West Suburban will be able to refer them immediately to its intensive outpatient program and set up an appointment to begin treatment right away.

West Suburban’s Governing Board Chair, Anan Abu-Taleb, followed up Martin’s remarks by emphasizing the vital role that West Suburban plays in the immediate communities of Oak Park, River Forest and the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

“Today’s opening of the new Outpatient Behavioral Health Center tells you how West Suburban is growing and adjusting to the needs of our community,” Abu-Taleb said.

The kickoff event was attended by Rep. Danny K. Davis, Congressman for the 7th District of Illinois, along with the mayor of the Village of Oak Park, Vicky Scaman, who expressed support for the new center in her remarks to the crowd. Also joining the festivities were local police and fire officials, business leaders from the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce, mental health professionals from the Chicago area, and leaders of local social service non-profit organizations.

Guests at West Suburban Medical Center

The new center is co-managed by West Suburban and Maximon Behavioral Health. It will be staffed by an interdisciplinary team of behavioral health professionals working with patients who need extensive services without being hospitalized. Patients will primarily participate in group sessions lasting 4-5 hours for five days a week during the course of their treatment.

Ventsislava (Vennie) Christoff, West Suburban’s Chief Quality Officer, oversees the new program. According to Christoff, when patients enter the program, they receive a full psychiatric evaluation, clinical assessment, and substance abuse assessment, and then participate in several types of group therapy sessions as indicated. Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan, discharge plan, and social support network that is created for their individual needs.