Behavioral health crisis center reduces ED visits, shrinks health disparities

Behavioral health integration often improves patient outcomes, enhances patient and provider satisfaction, and lowers costs — otherwise known as the Triple Aim of health care reform. Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health, in partnership with surrounding Guilford County, has achieved this trifecta after founding in 2021 The Guilford County Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center — the first of its kind in North Carolina.

The Guilford County Behavioral Health Center offers both behavioral health care and crisis behavioral health care without the need for an emergency department (ED) visit. The Center offers urgent care, a 16-bed adult facility-based crisis center, an on-site pharmacy, outpatient services and a peer-support living room. The living room provides a welcoming space where all patients, even those without appointments or diagnoses, can receive guidance, support and education from a licensed peer support specialist. The Center offers a safe, therapeutic environment — complete with an indoor courtyard, natural light and a team of behavioral health experts dedicated to their care. The building is also free of any obvious behavioral-health signage, helping reduce stigma around treatment.