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Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center is Model for New York State
Enhanced Services and Lower Costs for Taxpayers in 2023 as NYS looks to introduce similar centers in other communities

Published: 10/26/2022

Poughkeepsie, NY ...  As New York State seeks to develop new Crisis Stabilization Centers across the state to assist adults, children and adolescents experiencing behavioral health crisis, the original model, the Dutchess County Stabilization Center, located at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie, prepares for its seventh year of successful operation in 2023, with enhanced service provision and taxpayer savings of approximately $950,000 as part of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro’s 2023 Executive Budget proposal.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County has long been a nationwide leader in our offerings and delivery of services to those coping with mental health and substance use issues, and our innovative Stabilization Center is the keystone of our system. So regarded is our Stabilization Center that New York State has now made it the example for other communities to follow – offering funding for municipalities to copy the Dutchess County model. We’re happy New York State has formally acknowledged what local residents and leaders from around the state and country who have visited the facility already know: Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center saves lives, and more lives statewide will be saved when other communities follow our lead.”

Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center, which opened in 2017 through the Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH), was the first of its kind in New York State. The Center provides walk-in care for people with behavioral health and/or substance abuse issues. No appointment is necessary, and individuals are immediately connected to services, 24/7, 365 days per year. The Stabilization Center offers an essential, voluntary alternative to emergency department visits, hospital stays or incarceration. Adults and youth are welcome at the Center regardless of their ability to pay. In 2021, Dutchess County’s Stabilization Center served more than 2,100 guests and is expected to see over 2,400 guests in 2023.   The Center currently operates under a license from New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) and authorization of New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH).

DBCH Deputy Commissioner Jean-Marie Niebuhr said, “Our Stabilization Center continues to evolve and improve to best serve the needs of our community.  When the Center was established in 2017, there were few other models to follow or learn from.  Together with our partner agencies, we have learned so much over the past seven years and we continue to adapt and adjust to the needs of our community so we can provide accessible, high quality mental health care in a 24/7 setting.”  

Since its opening, officials from New York State and across the nation have toured the Stabilization Center to learn more about the operations and successful outcomes. Earlier this year, New York State announced funding awards to develop similar Crisis Stabilization Centers across the state.   New York State also announced a newly developed licensing model where centers will be jointly certified by OMH and OASAS in accordance with Article 36 of the Mental Hygiene Law and Title 14 NYCRR Part 600.

The State used the Dutchess County Stabilization Center as the foundation upon which to build their new regulations, guidelines, and licensure for Supportive Crisis Stabilization Centers.  The Center will formally apply for this new licensing when applications become available later this year and anticipates State aid under the new funding. 

Following the release of the newly established state guidelines, Dutchess County issued a Request for Proposals for the services rendered at the Stabilization Center.  The contract was awarded to People USA, who has partnered with the County since the inception of the Stabilization Center.   The new contract ensures People USA can meet the full staffing requirements associated with the state regulations, while also benefiting from an enhanced billing structure.  This billing revenue, combined with anticipated State aid, dramatically reduces net County costs for taxpayers, and the Stabilization Center is positioned to be self- sustaining, without need for a County subsidy, in as little as five years.   Expanded staffing, including a new Registered Nurse position, will further enhance service provision including plans for additional clinical care for youth and adolescents.

Steve Miccio, Chief Executive Officer of People USA, said, “Every day, people come to the Stabilization Center overwhelmed by what they are facing in their lives - whether it is addiction, workplace or school stress, mental health issues or a wide range of other issues – and our team is able to provide them a safe space to regroup and get connected to the help they need so they can address the issues they are dealing with.   We are thrilled to see New York State working to replicate what Dutchess County has created across the state, as there is such a huge community benefit.”

The Stabilization Center was established as a collaborative model to help ensure people could get the help and resources they needed quickly and easily by connecting with an array of health care professionals and local providers. In addition to People USA, other agencies connected with the Stabilization Center include Astor Services for Children and Families and Mental Health America of Dutchess County. 

The Center has been an invaluable resource to so many in the community, as people face challenges of substance use and mental health issues.  Adults, children, and families/supports use the Dutchess County Stabilization Center when they are experiencing a crisis – defined as overwhelming feelings of emotional distress — for any reason including: acute psychiatric symptoms, suicidal thoughts, adverse behaviors or life patterns, trauma & PTSD, addiction/substance use disorder, intoxication, living with chronic health issues, strained relationships (with family, friends, co-workers etc.), social isolation, and poverty & economic stress.

The mother of a Stabilization Center guest, a Poughkeepsie resident, said, “Coming there opened my eyes to a lot of things that were happening, and we were able to touch on all of them. The Center is phenomenal. Glad to know that the family is welcomed as a whole, because I, as a mom, needed this help too.” 

The Stabilization Center has also been a critical resource for law enforcement, offering a safe and helpful alternative to a police station lockup or jail for those who are experiencing crisis and are engaging in unsafe and/or illegal actions.

City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Tom Pape said, “A large percentage of police calls are related to substance use or mental health issues.  The Stabilization Center, along with our BEAT team and the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, have been critical resources to get people the help they need when they are in crisis.  The Stabilization Center has been an enormous benefit to our community, providing a critical alternative to the criminal justice system and we are proud to work with Dutchess County and the excellent team at the Stabilization Center.”

The Dutchess County Stabilization Center, as well as the array of other 24/7 mental health services offered by the County and other initiatives relating to opioid abuse prevention will be discussed as part of County Executive Molinaro’s 2023 Executive Budget Address which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1st at 11am in the County Legislature Chambers at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie.   The County Executive and Budget Director Jessica White will then host a countywide telephone town hall forum about the plan on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., during which residents can ask questions about the budget and provide their feedback. County Executive Molinaro will also host a pair of in-person town hall forums, each starting at 6 p.m., when residents can learn about key components of the 2023 budget, ask questions and share feedback:

Tuesday, Nov. 15th
Pine Plains Town Hall

3284 Route 199 
Pine Plains

Tuesday, Nov. 29th
East Fishkill Town Hall
330 Route 376
Hopewell Junction