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Transitional Living preparing to take over Lowville mental health clinic

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LOWVILLE — Officials at Transitional Living Services of Northern New York are seeking a smooth transition Friday when they assume operation of Lewis County’s mental health clinic.

“Everything seems to be completely on track,” said Bobbi L. Petranchuk, deputy executive director of behavioral health at the Watertown nonprofit agency.

The state Office of Mental Health has granted provisional certification for Transitional Living to operate the 7550 S. State St. facility, with the certification number expected before Friday, said Mrs. Petranchuk, who will oversee the Lowville clinic and has been working here since March 1 to aid the pending transition.

County leaders in January approved the transfer of most mental health programs and the outpatient clinic to Transitional Living and Northern Regional Center for Independent Living. Most non-clinic programs were privatized April 2.

The plan is to finish seeing nonemergency patients as a county-run operation by noon Thursday, allowing for all cases to be closed out that afternoon, Mrs. Petranchuk said. It then would reopen Friday morning as a private clinic, with all patients seen after that required to redo all intake paperwork, she said.

Transitional Living will hold a community meet-and-greet event from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Lowville Elks Lodge, Shady Avenue, to allow area residents to visit with the staff of the Behavioral Health and Wellness Center of Lewis County, the clinic’s new name.

The private operation will open with a clinical staff of six therapists, two psychologists and a registered nurse, along with a handful of support staffers, Mrs. Petranchuk said. A few staff members at the county clinic have agreed to stay on, which should provide better continuity for patients, she said.

“Wherever possible, they will have the same therapist,” Mrs. Petranchuk said.

The agency will add positions as needed, she said, noting that plans are to hire a social worker over the summer to work in local schools.

Transitional Living isn’t planning many immediate changes and has been sending out notices to the clinic’s roughly 600 active patients since April to keep them informed about the transfer process, Mrs. Petranchuk said.

The clinic is undergoing renovations, including installation of new carpeting, but that work is expected to be completed by early next week, she said.

The waiting room also will be revamped to provide separate areas for adults and children.

The clinic will operate from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. A psychiatrist will be available for some Saturday hours by appointment.

The phone number will continue to be 376-5450.

Transitional Living will also maintain an after-hours crisis hotline at 405-0696.

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