CEO expects more opportunities with Park Center becoming a Parkview Health affiliate

August 1st, 2018

By Lisa M Esquivel Long | News-Sentinel

As Park Center moves forward with adding in-patient treatment beds for those battling opioid addiction, it will become an affiliate of Parkview Health beginning Oct. 1, the health network announced Friday.

That affiliation means Park Center, a community mental health center, can complement its mostly outpatient services with the mainly inpatient treatment that Parkview Health has, said Park Center CEO Paul Wilson.

Wilson is excited by the opportunities that working with Parkview Behavioral Health and Parkview Physicians Group will bring as the agency integrates its mental health care services into the network. Namely, Parkview Health has begun using medication with inpatients, and Park Center would continue that process as patients transition to outpatient, he said.

Park Center, 909 E. State Blvd., has several facilities in Fort Wayne, as well as locations in Bluffton and Decatur. It’s preparing for construction to begin in about six weeks to make room for another 15 beds specifically for opioid treatment at its inpatient unit for adults at 1909 Carew St.

With opioid addiction a nationwide problem that affects an estimated 40,000 Allen County residents, Park Center was forced to shelve plans for a residential and treatment center. The vacant five-story office building at 2827 Rupp Drive would have provided space for 100 patients. However, the plan faced opposition from nearby residents and others.

Park Center also looked at a building in New Haven where it could treat up to 56 patients at 4820 New Haven Ave., but federal cuts made the project too financially “dicey,” Wilson told in April.

Park Center will remain independent after the affiliation begins Oct. 1, as it has been since it was founded about 60 years ago as the Child Guidance Clinic, Wilson said. It has had its State Boulevard location since 1978 and added the Carew location over 15 years ago.

The move comes with efforts to create greater access to mental health services, enhance clinic processes, coordinate addiction treatment programs and make capital investments in select Park Center facilities, according to the release.

“As a community-owned organization, we strive to be responsive to the changing needs of the region,” said Mike Packnett, president and CEO, Parkview Health in the release. “When it comes to mental health, access to care and resources has never been more important. This affiliation will allow PBH and PPG to better integrate their care with Park Center’s and meet patients where they are in their health journey.”

Park Center employs approximately 500 people in Adams, Allen and Wells counties where it serves clients. It has services for children, adolescents and adults. This week it unveiled its integrated primary medical services at its Park Center Health & Wellness, 2700 Lafayette St., that offers medical and mental health services meant to treat the whole person. It also is looking to decrease the infant mortality rate in the 46806 and 46805 ZIP codes. In 46806, where the clinic is located, the mortality rate is 14.3 deaths per 1,000 live births for the period 2011-15, according to then-Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams in 2017. In 46805, it was 11.3 deaths.

Park Center had sought money from the Fort Wayne Legacy Fund for part of the $2.4 million project. However, after it was rejected, the agency received funding from the Lutheran Foundation, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and the AWS Foundation.

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