The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

How WellSpan START helped patients avoid 2,000 emergency room visits 

How WellSpan START helped patients avoid 2,000 emergency room visits

Every day, many of our South Central Pennsylvania neighbors need help with addiction and mental health challenges. They sometimes end up at a local hospital emergency room, which is not always the ideal setting for them to receive the right kind of support. 

In 2021, WellSpan created START, or Specialized Treatment and Recovery Team, a comprehensive clinic that offers targeted, urgent care for people with mental health and/or addiction needs. Since it opened its doors, START has helped its patients make 2,000 fewer visits to local emergency departments. 

"We offer the right care at the right time to people with complex needs who sometimes are at the end of their rope and simply don't know where to go to find help. We are finding a better way to meet their needs," Michele Crosson, project director of START. "We help people succeed and thrive with the right support. It is what we all want for our neighbors, our family members, and our friends, and leads to a healthier community for everyone." 

START helped people receive treatment outside of the emergency room by: 

  • Offering same-day appointments. START offers walk-in hours for people to be evaluated at its offices, at 605 S. George St. in York.

  • Offering targeted services to meet complex needs. START offers a team-based, patient-centered approach to care. A network of addiction medicine experts, psychiatrists, social workers, peer and recovery support specialists, and therapists coordinate comprehensive care, including therapy and medication support for substance use disorders.

The team helps those who don't have an existing provider, including individuals connected to the York County wellness courts, such as Mental Health or Drug courts. These courts provide supervision as people receive treatment and support, rather than legal punishment, with the goal of helping them reduce their future involvement in the criminal justice system. 

  • Connecting clients to support services. START helps clients find services that address challenges – sometimes immediately – related to homelessness, food insecurity, transportation, domestic violence, employment, and other needs. START works with a variety of community partners to address these needs.  

To learn more about START, go here.