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Hospital officials expect the $1.98 million unit, funded through a state Health Department grant, to reduce emergency room usage and hospital admissions by reducing costs and improving results.

The center is a response to a national study that concluded that 68 percent of mental health patients also have a physical disorder at the same time.

Its operations are to be supported by an additional $795,000 state grant and a $70,000 grant from Univera Healthcare.

The center replaces the former outpatient mental health clinic on the sixth floor, a space hospital officials said was outdated.

The medical center claims $1.2 million in public and private insurance savings in the past year through the use of social workers to provide case management in the emergency room.

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