Renovated Hutchings Psychiatric Center Aims to Treat "The Whole Person" by Adding Primary Care

Jul 6, 2016

Officials cut the ribbon on the renovated Madison Street Clinic at Hutchings Psychiatric Center. At far left is center director Dr. Mark Cattalani. NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan is third from left.
Credit Jason Chen / WAER News

  Patients at Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse will now also be able to visit a primary care doctor at their newly renovated clinic.  Officials cut the ribbon Wednesday on the $2 million renovation of its Madison Street Outpatient Clinic.  Center Executive Director Dr. Mark Cattalani says the addition of phyiscal health care services provides a human-centered environment where people can  feel engaged and supported.

This doesn't just apply to folks who may or may not have serious mental illness, although you could argue for some of them, all the more," Cattalani said.  "But really for everybody, the environment sets the tone; it has a lot to do with how you feel, it has a lot to do with how you soothe yourself if you have anxieties, it has a lot to do with the way the environment can provide for folks that work in that environment a good way to engage those individuals as they're coming in there.”   

The reception area.
Credit Jason Chen / WAER News


Cattalani says the whole idea of healthcare is to find a patient’s challenges and difficulties, no matter if they have mental illness, heart disease, or addictions.

“Our goal would be to begin to develop more robust capabilities and more robust competencies to be able to treat the wider range of addiction problems while we're treating any mental health health issue with or without the addictions, while treating any medical problems.   It's treating the whole person."

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Ann Sullivan says Hutchings is the first clinic in the state’s hospital system to incorporate both medical and mental healthcare.

An exam room.
Credit Jason Chen / WAER News

On the medical side, we know that individuals with depression and heart disease, for example, that their heart disease gets better when their depression is treated," Sullivan said.  "And we know that heart disease gets worse if they have depression.  We know for the seriously mentally ill if their medical care is not good, that we have a history of them dying 10 to 15 years earlier than the rest of the population because we haven't been providing the kind of healthcare they need.”            

The clinic currently serves about 1,000 patients with behavioral health needs, and has been able to provide about 200 of those patients with additional comprehensive physical health care services.  The updated facility now enables Hutchings to provide that care to most of the clinic's client base.

Credit Jason Chen / WAER News