Intermountain Healthcare Opens First 24/7 Behavioral Health Access Center

Intermountain Healthcare is committed to improving behavioral health access.

Opening April 12, the McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health Access Center will serve patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues – regardless of an individual’s ability to pay. 

What is a Behavioral Health Access Center? 

The Access Center is a safe place for individuals to go who have depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues who are in need of immediate help. They will triage patients in crisis, provide short-term care, and outpatient referral services. If hospitalization is required, the care is coordinated onsite at the inpatient behavioral health unit. “Patients in crisis deserve a quiet, calming environment.” says Shelly Read, 

Behavioral Services Director at McKay-Dee Hospital. “From the moment you walk into the access center, your care will be coordinated by a team of mental health professionals,” says Shelly. She adds that patients tend to improve faster and have better outcomes with access to early intervention and support for mental health issues. 

How do I know if I should go to the Access Center or Emergency Department? 

More than 5,000 crisis patients visit the McKay-Dee Hospital Emergency Department each year for behavioral health services. With the opening of the access center, it’s anticipated the number of crisis patients seen in the emergency department will decrease by more than half by 2018 as these patients now have another option. 

Patients with medical emergencies should go to the ED for: severe bleeding, head trauma, seizures, breathing difficulties, dehydration, and serious bacterial infections. Patients who are medically unstable or withdrawing from drugs or alcohol will continue to be seen in the ED. Children under the age of 18 suffering from a behavioral health crisis will also continue to be seen in the Emergency Department. 

What’s my plan for continued behavioral health care?

The Access Center will be home to patient liaisons that will assists individual’s needing continued resources for their care. McKay-Dee Behavioral Health works closely with several community partners that collaborate together in an effort to offer low- or no-cost services to the uninsured or under-insured. “The strong ties we have to the community are helping support patients at the center,” Shelly says.

“Collaboration is so important to serve these patients,” says Willis McCree, Executive Director of Family Counseling Services in Ogden, one of several local partners who receive referrals from the hospital for ongoing outpatient treatment. “On both sides of the partnership we are working together to best serve the needs of the patient.” 

Located adjacent to the hospital’s emergency department, the McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health Access Center is part of Intermountain's proactive mission of helping people live the healthiest lives possible. The access center is supported by the Intermountain Behavioral Health Clinical Program, which utilizes evidence-based practices and an integrated approach to patient care. 

Intermountain is the winner of the 2017 Hearst Health prize in recognition of our Mental Health Integration program. The money from this award will be used for future development of our behavioral health services.


Intermountain is committed to improving mental health access and outcomes and being a national role model.