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River Hospital to provide PTSD care

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ALEXANDRIA BAY — Fort Drum soldiers may receive additional care for post-traumatic stress disorder closer to post with the announcement of increased services at River Hospital that could begin in the next few months.

“This is an area where there’s a lot of unmet need,” said Ben Moore III, the hospital’s CEO. “We’re very excited to do this.”

The hospital will offer a partial hospitalization program for active-duty military, in partnership with Holliswood Hospital, which offers inpatient mental health care at its Queens facility.

Holliswood Hospital will supply River Hospital with clinical and administrative assistance, quality control and assistance in recruiting and hiring, and will serve as project management consultant.

Mr. Moore said there was no similar outpatient program in the region.

Col. Mark W. Thompson, commander of Fort Drum’s Army Medical Department Activity, said in a statement that the new service was an “important addition” to treatment options available to soldiers on post.

The hospital initially intends to serve 10 soldiers in group and individual care for an average of two to three weeks. Over time, the hospital hopes to double the number of soldiers it can serve over two half-day sessions.

The program will be placed in former administrative space between the hospital and the primary family care practice. The space will be renovated, which will take a few weeks. Plans call for hiring a psychiatrist, a nurse practitioner, three social workers and an art therapist, and Mr. Moore said he hoped recruitment would take a few months.

“We’ll get it started and have it go as fast as we can,” he said.

The hospital was given approval to offer the services by the state Department of Health on May 31.

The project has been in the works since November, when it was proposed to the Jefferson County Community Services Board, which unanimously supported the measure.

The hospital will collaborate with soldiers’ health insurer TriCare to provide the service.

Mr. Moore said that should the program become a success, the hospital could branch out and offer extended mental health care for the general public.

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