St. Joseph Medical Center announces opening of Senior Behavioral Health Center

Pictured from left to right: Jodi Fincher, St. Joseph Medical Center CEO, Vickie Wolgast, President South Kansas City Chamber, Helen Miller, Director of Senior Behavioral Health, Dr. Kerstein, Senior Behavioral Health Medical Director, Kim Curtis, President of Grandview Chamber of Commerce, Trish Feilmeier, St. Joseph Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer.

KANSAS CITY, MO (ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER) -- St. Joseph Medical Center started accepting patients on a $1.6 million, 23-bed Senior Behavioral Health Center on Thursday, December 21, 2018.

“The services our Senior Behavioral Health Center offers are in high demand. This new unit is in response to an important community need,” said Jodi Fincher, Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph Medical Center. “We are looking ahead, and as the baby boomer generation ages, the need for this service will grow. This unit will also complement our Senior Care Services program that includes geriatric accredited emergency department, a comprehensive senior inpatient program and Sister Margaret’s Senior Clinic.”

“Additionally, we are excited to welcome our Senior Behavioral Health Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Kerstein,” said Jodi Fincher. Andrew H. Kerstein, D.O completed his undergraduate education and post-baccalaureate pre-medical education at the University of Maryland, College, Park. He went on to complete his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree at Nova Southeastern University's College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He then completed an Osteopathic Traditional Rotating Internship at the University Hospitals System in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Kerstein then went on to complete a four-year allopathic Psychiatry Residency at the University of Kansas, Wichita Psychiatry Residency Program in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Kerstein has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since 2014. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. He has worked continuously in Geriatric Psychiatry since 2011 which has included his moonlighting as an affiliate staff physician at Newton Medical Center, in Newton Kansas his last two years of residency.

Dr. Kerstein has been practicing in Kansas City since 2013. His professional interests include not only Geriatric Psychiatry and Dementia Syndromes, but Electroconvulsive Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, as well as Adult and Child-Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Kerstein has been a teaching attending for Psychiatry Residents and medical and allied health students during much of his time in Kansas City. “I am honored to be the Medical Director of the Senior Behavioral Health Center at St. Joseph Medical Center. We have a comprehensive team of highly trained professionals to provide high quality Senior Behavioral Health Services,” said Dr. Kerstein.

According to Fincher, patients are expected to come from as far away as Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. “Most have been diagnosed with mental health issues, including dementias such as those caused by Alzheimer’s disease, major depression, anxiety, grief reactions, confusion or thoughts of suicide. Many of these patients experience difficulty living on their own, with family, or in nursing facilities,” Fincher says.

The Senior Behavioral Health Center which will be a self-contained unit for patient safety, will feature dedicated clinical staff specially trained to understand the diverse and complex needs of the older patients they serve. The staff includes psychiatrists, internal medicine physicians, psychiatric nurses who also are experienced in caring for medical/surgical patients, social workers, and physical/occupational/recreational therapists.

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