In 1983, health care pioneers Stuart Harris, MD, and Joe Backus, MD, recognized a need for better mental health care in Arkansas. So, they partnered with Universal Health Services to open the first private freestanding psychiatric hospital in the state.
Almost 40 years later, The BridgeWay is one of the most prominent and respected health care facilities in Arkansas of its kind.
“We are known for providing quality care and strong patient outcomes through an empathetic approach,” said Bruce Trimble, MA, APR, Director of Business Development. “We have been successful because we have continued to respond to the needs of the community.”
Located in North Little Rock, The BridgeWay serves people from every county in Arkansas.
“We offer a continuum of care for children and adolescents, as well as adults of all ages,” Trimble said. “For children ages 4 through 12, we provide acute care for behavioral issues. For adolescents ages 13 through 17, we offer acute care and residential treatment for behavioral problems. For both groups, treatment includes on-site education certified by the Arkansas Department of Education. In terms of mental health, we serve adults, 18 and older, with acute care for severe mental illness or mood disorders.”
Trimble said, “Where substance use disorder or dual diagnosis are concerned, the hospital offers acute care with medical detoxification and acute rehabilitation. Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment option for adults, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Also, The BridgeWay offers partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment for mental health issues or substance use disorders for adults.”
The BridgeWay was proactive when COVID-19 hit last year, and it remains adaptable as the pandemic lingers.
“No matter the year, our number one priority at The BridgeWay is providing a safe environment for patients, employees and visitors,” Trimble said. “With that in mind, there are numerous areas that we monitor. With the onset of COVID-19, we developed and made multiple revisions to our protocols as guided by the CDC and our state Department of Health to provide care and maintain safety for all.”
During COVID, The BridgeWay deployed screening protocols for employees and patients; established a single point of entry for all staff, patients and visitors; temporarily converted a 14-bed unit into a negative pressure unit where safer isolation protocols could be initiated; and adjusted visitation to ensure precautions were effective.
“Because the pandemic is ongoing, we continuously adapt our protocols to provide a safe environment for all,” Trimble added.
As it did with many companies, the pandemic did have an impact on The BridgeWay’s business model
“Initially, the pandemic precluded some people from seeking help, but it was primarily the elderly population,” Trimble noted. “As a result, we saw more adults with substance use disorders while we experienced a decrease in referrals from nursing homes and assisted living centers. Based upon these trends, we suspended our senior care program operations and in June expanded our substance abuse continuum of care by adding an acute rehabilitation program and expanded our telehealth offerings.”
But The BridgeWay team rose to the challenge.
“The best thing about The BridgeWay is our employees, as they are our greatest asset,” Trimble said. “Without them, we could not touch as many lives as we have.”