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New clinic for 24/7 access to mental health, addiction treatment opens to public


A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday, April 4 to celebrate the opening of Citizen Advocates new Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Ogdensburg.  Cutting the ceremonial ribbon were James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates, and Jay Ulrich, Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County Community Services Board.  Included in the photo are Kati Jock, Chief Operations Officer, left; Tim Thayer, Northern Tier Contracting; Dallas Sutton, Citizen Advocates Board Member; Deanna Smith, Citizen Advocates Board Chair; Ray Babowicz, Chair of the St. Lawrence County Community Services Board, Dean Mason, Barton & Loguidice; and Jennifer Dishaw, Chief of Staff for Citizen Advocates.

Innovative service expands options for individuals seeking services and supports for healthy, full life

Nearly 100 individuals representing healthcare organizations, education, law enforcement and government throughout the region were on hand for the Open House and ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening for Citizen Advocates’ Ogdensburg Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center.

“This innovative service expands the availability of essential behavioral health services and the additional supports individuals need for a healthy and full life,” said James Button, CEO of Citizen Advocates. “More importantly, it has been made possible by so many individuals and organizations who share our vision for immediate access to mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services in the community.”

“Having only recently joined the Board of Directors, it has become readily apparent how committed Citizen Advocates is to its mission of Making Lives Better,” said Dallas Sutton, Citizen Advocates Board Member. “As a lifelong resident of the North Country and as a resident of Ogdensburg, I now have a front row seat to watch our mission in action as this innovative new service tackles many of the greatest health challenges our community faces.”

“Increasing access to vital, safety-net care and a comprehensive range of Behavioral Health Services in St. Lawrence County is essential,” said Ray Babowicz, Chair of the St. Lawrence County Community Services Board. “The Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center in Ogdensburg is an important new addition to our overall system of care in the county as we strive to bolster crucial mental health and addiction services for community members.”

“Many communities already have 24/7 urgent care centers for physical health, but less common are those that provide urgent care for mental health or addiction treatment,” said Kati Jock, Chief Operations Officer of Citizen Advocates. “Our integrated care models are designed to support and enhance the quality of life for individuals living in St. Lawrence County.

“The personalized, one-on-one care we offer is proven to lead to better health outcomes, and in general, is less costly than hospitalization,” said Dr. Joshua Frank, Chief Medical Officer for Citizen Advocates. “The individualized treatment and recovery plans we develop are a targeted approach intended to reduce or eliminate avoidable ER visits, law enforcement encounters or use of emergency responders.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, guided tours of the new facility were provided.  The building itself replaced a blighted piece of property with a new, modern clinic. Key facts about the new Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center are as follows:

  • Total square footage: 8,500 (6,885 square feet used for clinical space)
  • Construction timeline: 8 months
  • Project cost: $2.4 million
  • Number of employees: ~25

As an extension of Citizen Advocates Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinics, the 24-hour center will offer many of the same mental health and addiction treatment therapies.

The Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center offers 24-hour, walk-in access to mental health and addiction treatments such as:

  • Mental health & addiction counseling
  • Co-occurring conditions
  • Outpatient detoxification
  • Individualized treatment and recovery plan
  • Voluntary respite stays
  • Case management
  • Care coordination
  • Therapy groups
  • Peer-run groups

The treatment team includes a supervising physician, advance practice providers, Registered Nurses, therapists, targeted case managers, peer specialists and customer support.  Targeted Case Managers connect individuals with services like job training or housing, often coordinated through other organizations.  Peer specialists are specially trained professionals who often have lived experience with a mental health or addiction diagnosis, or both.

The clinic officially opens April 5.