Local officials, law enforcement, healthcare providers, and mental health advocates came together Tuesday to celebrate the grand opening of an expanded behavioral health treatment and crisis center in Lenoir.
The Caldwell C3 Comprehensive Care Center will primarily serve residents of Alexander, Caldwell, and McDowell counties. In addition to existing mental health, substance use and developmental disability outpatient programs, the center now includes a 12-bed crisis stabilization unit for adults, with stays projected to last from five to seven days. New staff members are currently in training, with admissions set to begin in March.
The crisis stabilization unit is designed to offer quality treatment that is closer to home than most inpatient psychiatric facilities, reduce strain on local hospitals, and save time for law enforcement officers who transport residents for treatment. Once discharged from the crisis unit, individuals can utilize the center’s outpatient services, such as medication management or counseling, to help achieve and sustain long-term recovery.
The community partners behind Caldwell C3 held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday in the new unit’s day room.
“Caldwell C3 is a testament to the tenacity and commitment of the community partners in this area,” said Brian Ingraham, CEO of lead project partner Vaya Health. “This full array of community-based services will dramatically improve the landscape of behavioral healthcare in these counties.”
Caldwell C3 is designed to offer support, hope, and real options for recovery. Funding and other support was provided by the N.C. Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA), Foothills Services, Inc., and Vaya. Key partners include Caldwell County and RHA Health Services, Inc., which operates the facility, as well as local hospitals and law enforcement agencies.
Special guest Jason Vogler, interim senior director of the N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, called Caldwell C3 “an excellent example” of community-based treatment envisioned by the state’s Crisis Solutions Initiative. “It really makes me happy to know we have something here in Lenoir to serve the local community,” Vogler said.
“The Caldwell crisis facility provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals who are experiencing a mental illness or substance abuse crisis,” said Scott Farmer, NCHFA executive director. “This facility is a great example of the type of housing financed by the state’s Housing Trust Fund.”
Also praising the center were Mike La Brose, vice chairman of the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners; Rick French, Vaya’s board chairman who also serves as Alexander County manager and as a Foothills Services board member; Rebecca T. Smith, vice president at Caldwell UNC Healthcare; and Carol Wolfenbarger, president of McDowell Hospital. State Sen. Ralph Hise and state Rep. Josh Dobson were unable to attend Tuesday’s ceremony but sent public letters of support.
Hise called the center a “landmark addition to the continuum of behavioral healthcare” in the three-county area. “One of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure access to prevention, early intervention, crisis response and ongoing behavioral healthcare,” Hise said. “It is especially rewarding to see a program of this scope come to fruition in our western counties.”
“This new center provides real hope for recovery,” Dobson said. “The expansion of the Caldwell Comprehensive Care Center fills a long standing gap in Caldwell and surrounding counties and will make a positive difference affecting individuals and their families for decades to come.”
Gordon J. Simmons, RHA CEO, presided over the official ribbon-cutting and thanked partner organizations.
Vaya’s support of Caldwell C3 is part of the organization’s ongoing Community and Capital Reinvestment Plan, which utilizes cost-savings from effective Medicaid management to enhance treatment options throughout western North Carolina. The center is located at 2415 Morganton Boulevard SW in Lenoir.