Hospital News

UPMC Western Maryland opens Center for Hope and Healing


CUMBERLAND – On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, UPMC Western Maryland officially opened its Center for Hope and Healing, a 24-hour residential treatment facility that will house patients with substance abuse and behavioral health issues.

The center is located on Leslie Lane, adjacent to the UPMC Western Maryland main campus, and was built on land gifted to UPMC Western Maryland from the state. Funding for the project was largely attributed to a $1,000,000 pledge from the WMHS Auxiliary, including an initial gift of $400,000 made in May of 2019. Ground broke on the facility last August.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony held on August 6, UPMC Western Maryland President Barry Ronan said, “Today we celebrate the opening of this historic behavioral health and substance abuse treatment center. It will benefit so many patients that face these challenges in our region.”

Auxiliary President Julie Davis, who works as the Fire Administration Officer for the City of Cumberland Fire Department, said at the time of the initial gift, “I see the impact this crisis has on a daily basis. I see how it taxes our emergency service providers. We were all unanimously in favor of facing this challenge and supporting a valuable asset that will effectively address the need.”

“The community has said loud and clear that there is a tremendous need for behavioral health, which includes both mental health and substance abuse treatment services,” said Jeff O’Neal, Executive Director, Clinics, Practices, and Behavioral Health Services. “This is something special for our community, and I’d like to thank everyone that made this possible. We are now the envy of every other hospital-based program in the state.”

The center will serve patients who are suffer from chronic mental illnesses and those with opioid addiction. It has 8 beds, a communal area where group and one on one outreach will be provided, and a kitchen, along with a working area for staff. Patients will stay roughly 10 days and the option to extend the stay 10 more days will exist.

“This residential treatment center will provide a bridge to the gap between patients who present at our emergency department in acute crisis that may not need to be admitted,” O’Neal said. “It will also be used as a step down for those patients coming out of the hospital, so we can provide them stability that will allow them to maintain in the community and not go back into the hospital.

“This facility provides a safe, residential environment where they will have counseling and physician services. Twenty days in a facility like that can absolutely make a difference between a patient needing to go back to the emergency department and being able to sustain and maintain in the community.  While in this facility, individuals will have all of their basic needs met, while receiving treatment and linkage to the additional resources in the community they may need,” O’Neal said.

Sherry Schmitt, Immediate Past President of the Auxiliary, said the center will be a much-needed resource. “Everyone we talked to finds it to be such a worthwhile and positive thing, she said at the time of the groundbreaking. “We have all had people in our lives who are dealing with addiction or have behavioral health problems. We can connect this with the other programs at UPMC Western Maryland and, as a result, we have a shot at making a real impact. Speaking personally, though I imagine most who work in health care would agree, we all seek to find that one thing that will help just one person.”