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DeTar to shutter specialized mental health program

Victoria Advocate - 11/3/2017

Nov. 03--DeTar Healthcare System plans to cease operations at its DeTar Counseling and Wellness Center.

Patients are no longer being accepted into the intensive outpatient mental health program.

The hospital system attributes the center's closure to an almost 40-percent decline in admissions this year.

The decision came after a careful review of patient usage and DeTar's overall system, said Marketing Director Judith Barefield.

The program was started in July 2013 with a grant, but that grant ends Dec. 31.

Barefield said the program was designed as a step down from hospitalization or a step up from traditional behavioral health therapy for adults.

The course of treatment is participation in therapies several times a week for multiple weeks.

The center will remain open until the last patient meets his or her treatment goals. Barefield said staff members will also offer to help clients transition to traditional outpatient therapy.

The community has several options for outpatient counseling therapy, including Place4 Counseling at Gulf Bend Center and various independent licensed counselors, Barefield said.

Karen Kennemer, director of commercial services at Gulf Bend, said Place4 Counseling was created to meet the ever-increasing demand for counseling services in the area.

But because there are so many options for quality counseling in Victoria, she said Gulf Bend decided to relocate all Place4 services to Port Lavaca.

These services include individual, family, couples and group counseling and can serve clients even outside the Crossroads.

Kennemer said the program draws clients from several tiny coastal towns, including Port O'Connor, Tivoli and Palacios.

"Our Port Lavaca location is ideal for those that cannot readily find transportation to Victoria," she said. "Transit services have also been able to bring long standing customers previously receiving services in Victoria to Port Lavaca."

Gulf Bend Executive Director Jeff Tunnell said outpatient counseling is a needed service in the community; however, it can be difficult to provide this service in a rural setting when the numbers do not adequately cover the program's costs.

"Collaboration and integration of services is essential in rural settings where limited access to care is a major barrier especially for those who are uninsured," he said.

One of the benefits of outpatient therapy, he said, is allowing these individuals to continue to work and be close to family and other community support systems while undergoing treatment.


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