Home / News / Roger Williams Medical Center Opens Behavioral Health and Substance Use Emergency Treatment Unit in Rhode Island

Roger Williams Medical Center Opens Behavioral Health and Substance Use Emergency Treatment Unit in Rhode Island


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(Pictured L to R): Dr. Daren Girard; Candy Wray, RN; Dr. Greg Allen; and CEO Jeffrey Liebman.

Roger Williams Medical Center has opened Rhode Island’s first completely dedicated emergency treatment unit to treat mental health, drug and alcohol medical emergencies that features private rooms for comfort, safety and privacy. The new 9-bed unit is the second and final phase of the hospital’s $18 million expansion and renovation of its emergency department, which treats approximately 25,000 patients each year.

The newly opened behavioral health and substance use emergency treatment unit will operate in the space formerly occupied by the hospital’s old emergency department, which was replaced by a new 12,000 square foot addition in 2018. The specially designed locked unit includes 9 private treatment rooms and is staffed by personnel who are trained and experienced in treatment of mental health and substance use emergencies.

Direct care will be provided by emergency nurses and physicians in collaboration with mental health clinicians. The Detoxification service will continue to be available and will be overseen by a board-certified emergency medicine physician.

CharterCARE CEO Jeffrey Liebman said, “Our new behavioral health emergency treatment unit will be a vital resource in our state’s continuing challenge from mental health and substance use. We have long specialized in addiction medicine and mental health, but too many patients die before they can access that level of care. It is our hope that this new unit will save hundreds of lives each year and become a gateway to specialized addiction and mental health care.”

“The new unit at Roger Williams Medical Center will help to fill a tremendous need, providing treatment and hope for Rhode Islanders with mental health and substance use conditions,” said Kathryn Power, director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals. “It is gratifying to see this investment in behavioral health services, because we know it will result in greater access to care for individuals who need help and are seeking recovery.”

CharterCARE through its two hospitals, Roger Williams Medical Center and Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, is one of the state’s leading providers of behavioral health and addiction treatment services, including the state’s only Level I designated inpatient unit for substance use care, adult and geriatric psychiatry units, specialty programs such as partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient.

"Community health and individual well-being are incredibly fragile right now. In this moment, more than ever, we need to respond to diseases of despair and prioritize behavioral health issues," said Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. "I commend Roger Williams Medical Center and CharterCARE for their commitment to ensuring our neighbors with substance use disorders and those who experience mental health emergencies have access to comprehensive and compassionate crisis intervention care."