Local News

UNC WakeBrook awarded federal grant funding for expansion

Posted September 4, 2015 6:02 p.m. EDT

— A Wake County initiative that has already garnered national attention has received federal grand funding to expand its model.

UNC WakeBrook was awarded a four-year, $1.6 million federal grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, UNC Hospitals announced in a release Friday.

The complex—which opened in 2013, and is located in southeast Raleigh—is owned by Wake County and operated by UNC Heath Care.

WakeBrook provides a range of services for patients with behavioral and substance abuse problems. The complex primarily focuses on patients without regular doctors, many of whom do not have health insurance.

Officials told WRAL News that the complex will also add dental care as a part of the expansion.

The complex’s primary care clinic currently serves about 250 patients, but now with federal funding, will eventually treat more than 750 patients.

Additionally, expansion will include medical care and detox services, and more construction will increase crisis bed space from 16 to 28 beds.

With limited room for people in need of mental health services, many often end up in emergency rooms or jail. WakeBrook was designed to be a positive and welcoming alternative.

“People with severe mental illness die on average 25 years earlier, and it’s usually related to untreated medical problems,” Dr. Brian Sheitman said in a release. “We will now be able to offer a full medical home that’s designated for people with severe mental illness. This grant will also help us determine the best model to deliver care for this population of patients.

Dr. Beat Steiner, WakeBrook’s director of medicine, said coordinating mental health and detoxification in the same place can save money and lives.

“The patients we serve aren’t getting much-needed medical care elsewhere, except maybe at a hospital emergency department,” Steiner said. “Sometimes these patients are more difficult to treat, and some doctors may not have the time allotted in a busy office practice that’s required. We’re proud to help our patients thrive.”

Officials said the new addition is expected to be ready for patients by 2016.