Tag Archives: Psychiatry

New Psychiatric Provider Answering Service

AlertMD On-Call number for Psychiatry: 815-206-3437

Effective Wednesday, September 13, 2017


There is no single point of access to contact the scheduled on-call Psychiatric Provider. At times, there is confusion around who is on-call for which service, which results in delayed responses.


The Psychiatric Provider team manages multiple call lists for the ED, med floors, and inpatient behavioral health unit. Schedules are distributed across departments but become quickly outdated as schedules change.


A single point of access is required to ensure a caller can access the correct Psychiatric

Provider within a timely fashion.


Utilize the Center and AlertMD to establish a single access point; populating the schedule behind the scenes to ensure each caller is accessing the most up to date on-call schedule and Provider resource.

Medical Providers, Nurses, and Care Coordinators serving patients on the Medical floors will be able to access the Psychiatric Provider by calling 815-206-3437.

After dialing this number, you will hear three options:

  1. If you are calling from the ER, please press 1
  2. If you are calling from a Medical Floor, please press 2
  3. If you are calling from the Inpatient Behavioral health floor, please press 3

Once you make your selection, you will be greeted by the operator. The operator will page the psychiatrist on call through Alert MD. The Psychiatrist has 15 minutes to respond. If they do not respond, the operator will page again.

Please contact Susan Yerkes with any issues. (815)334-5582 or Email: syerkes@centegra.com


September is National Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Month

In recognition of Recovery Month, we ask you to take a moment to consider those around you who may be suffering from an emotional or substance use problem.

Here are five signs that may mean someone is in emotional pain and might need help:

Their personality changes.

You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don’t seem to fit the person’s values, or the person may just seem different.

They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody.

You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down. People in more extreme situations of this kind may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at a minor problem.

They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people.

Someone who used to be socially engaged may pull away from family and friends and stop taking part in activities he or she used to enjoy. In more severe cases the person may start failing to make it to work or school. Not to be confused with the behavior of someone who is more introverted, this sign is marked by a change in someone’s typical sociability, as when someone pulls away from the social support he or she typically has.

They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior.

You may notice a change in the person’s level of personal care or an act of poor judgment on his or her part. For instance, someone may let his or her personal hygiene deteriorate, or the person may start abusing alcohol or illicit substances or engaging in other self-destructive behavior that may alienate loved ones.

They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances.

Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? That person may be suffering from extreme or prolonged grief, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. People in this situation may say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting suicidal thinking.


You connect, you reach out, you inspire hope and you offer help.

Show compassion and caring and a willingness to find a solution when the person may not have the will or drive to help him- or herself.

It may take more than one offer and you may need to reach out to others who share your concern about the person who is suffering.

If everyone is more open and honest about mental health and substance abuse, we can prevent pain and suffering, and those in need will get the help they deserve.

For more information about local resources,
Contact the McHenry County Crisis Line at 800-892-8900
Centegra Behavioral Health Services at 800-765-9999

Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Consultations

Due to changes in the availability of our consulting psychiatry team we are implementing a modification in how psychiatry and behavioral health consultations are addressed on the medical floors at CHM and CHW. Starting November 1, 2014 psychiatrist coverage for consultations at CHM and CHW will be available Mondays through Fridays. For weekend and holiday coverage such consultations will be referred to the Centegra Behavioral Health Crisis Service for evaluation. A psychiatrist will always be available telephonically to provide support to the crisis workers; similarly, a psychiatrist will always be available via telephone to provide support to all Centegra Health System Medical Staff physicians/providers to address clinical matters on patients hospitalized at a Centegra facility. A call list will be sent out and the Care Coordination team, Crisis associates and operators will always know which psychiatrist is on-call.

We recognize this is a change from how things have been handled and look forward to collaborating with you to work through issues as they may arise. Crisis workers are not able to order laboratory/imaging studies or medications; this will require the cooperation of the ordering physician, again with support from the psychiatrist. The crisis associates will be able to evaluate risk/perform safety assessments, recommend aftercare and disposition options (including psychiatric hospitalization) and even assist with capacity determinations. If you feel that psychiatric medications are indicated call the on-call psychiatrist.

As a reminder, psychiatric consultation is appropriate for psychosis, altered mental status that is not clearing after thorough work-up for and treating organic causes, mania and patients with mental illnesses who are unstable. Patients being treated for acute alcohol withdrawal syndrome should not require a consultation if the available withdrawal protocol is initiated and followed appropriately. Please call with questions to help clarify how the psychiatrist can assist you:

Paul Berkowitz, MD