An eastern Iowa hospital now offers a new option for patients with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.

Genesis Health System is opening a Behavioral Intervention Unit in Davenport. Supervisor Amy Haldeman says patients can stay for up to three days as outpatients instead of being admitted to the hospital.

“There’s nobody on the Iowa side in our region that has any type of intervention unit before inpatient,” Haldeman says, “and we thought this would be a good pilot program for Iowa to show people that our #1 focus is getting people healthy and not putting them in an inpatient.”

The three-bed unit for patients of all ages is adjacent to the emergency department. Haldeman says the new unit will also save money for patients, health care providers and the community.

“Individual and group therapy, we’ll be talking to them about if they have any substance use issues, giving them mental health education,” Haldeman says. “We have a case manager there so if we have to provide any follow-up care, they will call their care provider and set up appointments for them. Teach them about medication management and just making sure they’re going to be successful if they do discharge from that unit.”

The Anna Neal Behavioral Intervention Unit at Genesis is named after a nurse who died trying to save 40 patients when fire broke out in the hospital in 1950. St. Elizabeth’s was the mental health ward at Mercy Hospital, which is now Genesis Medical Center’s west campus.

The Genesis Foundation will also create the Anna Neal Fund to raise money for the new unit and other mental health care programs.

(Thanks to Michelle O’Neill, WVIK, Rock Island)