LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new walk-in immediate care center for patients who need help with mental health issues is staying very busy, according to its founder and owner psychiatrist Ora Frankel.
Frankel opened The Couch at 2415 Lime Kiln Lane in mid-January and she says the response has been bigger than she expected, showing the great need for additional mental health treatment.
It's the first and only such treatment center in Kentucky, and Frankel believes it may be unique to the nation.
"To my knowledge it is the only one of its kind," she said.
Dr. Frankel says she opened the center to get help as quickly as possible to people having mental and emotional problems.
"There is a lot of people who really need access to care who end up resorting to the emergency room where it's not the appropriate setting for the kinds of help they need," Dr. Frankel said.
Such patients often cannot wait the two or three months it often takes to get an appointment with a mental health professional. Now they can come to The Couch right away and receive evaluation and treatment.
"For patients who already have a psychiatrist but can't get in when it's an emergency, it offers that opportunity," said Dr. Frankle.
She goes on to say that the center offers a comfortable and quiet setting, much different from the busy and hectic ER filled with people at a local hospital.
The Couch has evening and Saturday hours and is staffed by psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
Adds Dr. Frankel, "For some people, that is convenient and they continue their care here, and for others, it's an interim process until they can get in with their psychiatrist."
For a one-hour psychiatric assessment, it will cost $225.
A 30-minute medical check-up and counseling will cost $110.
The Couch does not participate with insurance plans, but patients will be provided with an insurance form which can be filed with their carrier in order to receive out of network reimbursement or for application towards their deductible depending upon their plan.
While the Greater Louisville Medical Society doesn't have a formal reaction to the new service, psychiatrist Randy Schrodt believes it's a good idea.
"We don't have a formal opinion on this type of program, but it's a very novel idea," said Dr. Schrodt. "It really does address a chronic need particularly in Kentucky and the Louisville area of the difficulty in getting psychiatric care, especially on an urgent basis."
According to the latest statistics, mental illness affects one in four people, or nearly 60 million Americans.
Dr. Frankel says she is passionate about trying to do something to help.
"The need is tremendous, the need is really, really tremendous," she said.