Consortium Health Care reaching Out to Southwest Despite Covid-19 crisis Consortium address mental health needs

John White President and CEO of The Consortium chats amiably with a youngster waiting for care at the new 2821 Island Avenue mental health center.  Consortium emphasizes phone and TeleHealth electronic patient contact during the present Covid-19 crisis.
John White President and CEO of The Consortium chats amiably with a youngster waiting for care at the new 2821 Island Avenue mental health center. Consortium emphasizes phone and TeleHealth electronic patient contact during the present Covid-19 crisis.

The Consortium, a private healthcare organization is reaching out aggressively to the Southwest community to provide assistance to residents suffering from a wide range of mental and emotional disorders.   Understandably, with the restrictions placed on personal contact, their group therapy activities have been suspended for the duration of the coronavirus epidemic.  

“We have initiated the TeleHealth modality to provide access to patient care by phone or electronically,” White asserted in a phone interview with the Globe this week.  He noted that Consortium staff have been training and preparing for months to introduce this modern method of information gathering and patient treatment – which adapts itself perfectly in the behavioral health field.   

“The key to this approach is access,” confided White, leader of the health care group which has been servicing the community for more than 50 years.   “The patient and the caregiver can be in contact with each other without respect to time or location. And the service is available 24/7 for our clients.

With the onset of the Covid-19 crisis and the importance of social distancing, Consortium also deploys its mobile care units where there are both physical and mental health emergencies.  “When personal contact becomes normal again, we will be partnering with Spectrum Healthcare to provide physical as well as mental health services. With the curtailment of emergency treatment at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital, this service becomes critically important for Southwest residents.

For children and youth, their outpatient and blended care facility at 2821 Island Avenue, just opened last October, is available where clients require face to face therapy.   The emphasis at present, of course, is on TeleHealth. Given the almost universal availability of smart phones or computers, White indicated that this form of electronic care is wonderfully adapted to Consortium’s work with young people.

The adult care clinic and blended health unit at 5501 Chestnut Street is also open where members need to see a caregiver in person.  Staff is available for the intake of new patients, new mental evaluation, medication, laboratory work, and pharmacy pickups.

Prior to joining The Consortium some 20 years ago, Mr. White had an exceptional career in public service.  He was elected as a State Representative and Philadelphia City Councilman and served as head of both the Public Housing Authority in the city and as director of the State Department of Public Welfare.  All of this past service has prepared him superbly in directing health activities here in Southwest.  

“Although Southwest is a  vibrant community, it still has a lot of unmet needs from a health standpoint,” observed White.   “For residents here, our previous center at 40th and Market was a long way to go.” When space became available at the former Mercy Health location on Island Avenue, a modern building convenient to public transportation and with plenty of free parking, Consortium jumped at the chance.  

“It’s vital that we get as close to our neighbors as possible,” concluded White.  “Being here in Southwest provides gives them the best possible access to our services.  Since opening in October, we’ve conducted ongoing surveys of our clients and response has been consistently favorable.

To reach the Adult services units at 5501 Chestnut Street, phone 215-748-8400 (Adult Outpatient clinic) or 215-748-8400 (Adult Blended Case Management)

To reach the Children’s Care units at 2821 Island Aveue, phone 267- 233-5391 (Children’s Outpatient Care) or 267-220-6218 (Blended Case Management). 

Telehealth services are being provided via telephone or video conferencing as an alternative to site-based services.  For questions concerning the Consortium range of services visit its website at https://consortiuminc.org

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