Department of Psychiatry adds new location for convenient psychiatric care

The Department of Psychiatry has added a location on Scott Boulevard in Iowa City to increase access to mental health care.

Annie Fitzpatrick, News Reporter

The University of Iowa Psychiatry Department has moved several of its providers to UI Health Care’s newly renovated Scott Boulevard location, 3640 Middlebury Road, this year.

Psychiatry Department Chair Peggy Nopoulos, who oversees all department missions, said the additional location on Scott Boulevard resulted from the need for more mental-health care in Iowa.

“There’s a huge need, and we need to grow our services in order to provide the care that Iowans deserve in mental health,” she said.

UIHC’s limited space and the overwhelming need for mental-health care in Iowa City led to the new location, Nopoulos said. With a smaller facility and easier, free parking, she said, the new location offers the same great care in a more convenient way.

Psychiatry clinical services director Kelsey Montross said the plans for the new location were in the works for some time, but the department didn’t know how realistic they were.

“Conversation started maybe a year or two ago, but it was kind of one of those pipe dreams,” she said.

Like Nopoulos, Montross said the overwhelming need for greater mental-health care locally was the main reason for the additional facility’s creation. The main reason was the long list of patients seeking psychiatric care, she said.

“Anything that we can do to get new patients in is good,” she said.

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The new location started as a building made for medical treatment; it was adapted to fit the needs of a psychiatry environment, Nopoulos said. However, the adjustments were fairly minor in transitioning the space to fit the needs of psychiatric care, she said.

Renovations included the addition of windows for natural light, couches, and carpet, as well as the removal of an examination table.

Montross said that the move and renovations were fairly simple, and overall, it was a “very smooth process.” The most significant changes occurred in IT and ethics departments internally, she said.

Feedback on the new location has overall been positive, Montross said, and patients like the convenience of the new location. The only complaint so far is that the office isn’t directly connected to a bus line and one particular patient had to walk a two to three blocks in the cold weather, she said.

Clinical Professor Jodi Tate, who is responsible for the operations of the clinical services, said the new location offers better collaboration for the whole team because of the many practices that go on in the building.

“In this location, there is a family practice, and there are pediatric clinics as well,” Tate said. “So there’s a great opportunity for collaboration between primary care, [pediatrics], and psychiatry.”

Similar to her colleagues, Tate said the location’s primary goal was to increase access and address the overwhelming need of care for mental health.

“There’s a shortage of health-care providers, and it’s very hard to get in to see a psychiatrist,” she said. “So, we want to expand the number of providers that we have, but we also want to expand where they’re at.”