Mental health care provider Vantage Point will scale back services

Posted: November 9, 2017 at 1:05 a.m.

A mental health care provider in Northwest Arkansas is dropping its outpatient and school-based services at the end of the year.

Vantage Point of Northwest Arkansas announced it would focus exclusively on acute inpatient services, meaning care for immediate or emergency mental health needs rather than longer-term and outpatient therapy, starting Dec. 31.

Vantage Point didn't say in a news release why it's making the change, how many clients and staff members are affected or which schools it worked at, and the company didn't return phone calls this week and last requesting more detail.

Vantage Point's central hospital is on Crossover Road in Fayetteville. It also runs outpatient centers in Bentonville and Harrison, which might close under the change.

"Our hospital will still be open to serve the needs of children, adolescents, adults and seniors who need inpatient services," Vantage Point CEO Connie Borengasser said in the release. "We look forward to continuing to play an important role in the northwest Arkansas community."

Vantage Point is part of the larger Tennessee-based company Acadia Healthcare, which also didn't return a message Wednesday requesting comment. Northwest Arkansas television station KHOG reported the company said the outpatient services weren't sustainable and it was helping patients find another provider of their choice.

Ozark Guidance, a mental health care organization providing school-based and outpatient services throughout Northwest Arkansas, said it was working with Vantage Point to make the transition a smooth one for patients. Ozark Guidance plans to expand its operations and hire more therapists, perhaps adding 20 or 30 positions, but the expansion's scale will depend on how many new clients it sees, said Steven Hinds, the group's vice president of philanthropy and development.

"We're reaching out to superintendents and principals and others to let them know we're interested in being the provider," Hinds said Wednesday. "We realize that many clients will not have services as of Dec. 31, and we hope to be that provider of choice for them."

Northwest Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences also provide counseling and psychiatric services, as do Mercy Northwest Arkansas and Washington Regional Medical Center at some of their locations. All of those organizations almost a decade ago helped start Northwest's acute inpatient mental health unit for adults in Springdale, which it plans to expand by early next year.

WoodRidge Behavioral Care a year ago opened a Springdale center with 28 beds for residential care for children who have long-term mental health needs. Ozark Guidance formerly ran the center.

NW News on 11/09/2017