As Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Service Line, Tracey Lavallias leads LG Health’s efforts to play an important role in enhancing behavioral-healthcare access in the community.

As Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Service Line, Tracey Lavallias leads LG Health’s efforts to play an important role in enhancing behavioral-healthcare access in the community. 
 
When he joined LG Health in August, Lavallias was impressed by the health system’s commitment to leading the response focused on improving behavioral healthcare, an undisputed community need.
 
“It’s very unique to see a health system leading the charge in determining the path of behavioral-health services in the community,” he said. “In many cases, that role is taken by a payer or the county.”
 
Lavallias previously served as CEO of Northern Children’s Services in Philadelphia and Deputy CEO of Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. A Texas native, he also played professional football for the Washington Redskins and in Canada.
 
“Lancaster County has several behavioral-health indicators that are higher than the state average,” he said. “We don’t know the reasons, but no one can argue the need for improved behavioral-health services in our community.”
 
Lancaster General Hospital’s 36-bed inpatient unit, which treats patients of various ages and disorders, is on divert 58 percent of the time, Lavallias said. The behavioral-health service line also includes an addictions medicine department and outpatient practice.
 
LG Health recently announced plans to build a 126-bed behavioral-health facility in Lancaster City’s Northwest Gateway. A partner organization will help build and operate the new facility, which will offer a wide range of services, from inpatient and partial hospitalization to intensive outpatient care.
 
“We’re building a continuum of care that doesn’t currently exist in the community,” Lavallias said. “This continuum of services not only increases access but creates a less restrictive treatment environment for the patient.”
 
In addition to general adult care, the facility would offer several features not currently available in the county, including an adolescent unit. Additional specialized units will care for patients with complex medical conditions or substance abuse disorders, women’s trauma and older adults.
 
The facility also would have a gym and other recreational facilities, as well as gardens for patients to tend. Physical activity and fresh air play a key role in healing, Lavallias said. 
 
LG Health also is piloting a program to embed behavioral-health counselors at primary-care practices. The counselors use motivational interviews to help patients regain control over chronic conditions, which often are impacted by behavioral-health issues. For example, a patient with depression may stop taking her diabetes medication.
 
 “The idea of integrating behavioral healthcare into the practices was initiated by physicians,” Lavallias said. “The practices don’t currently have the resources to respond.”
 
In the future, the service line will work to improve behavioral healthcare for nursing home residents and understand behavioral health’s relationship to pain management, particularly opioid use.

  • WANTED: Physician feedback to design future behavioral-health services. Click here to take a short survey.

Share This Page: