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Published on January 16, 2018

Helmsley Charitable Trust awards $784,000 to Billings Clinic psychiatric stabilization unit

Billings, MT— The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Billings Clinic a $784,271 grant to assist in the completion of Billings Clinic’s new Psychiatric Stabilization Unit.

“This grant is transformative,” said Eric Arzubi, MD, chair of the Billings Clinic Psychiatric Department and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “There's no other way to say it. This investment is allowing Billings Clinic to introduce a new treatment approach to the region that is more appropriate for people experiencing a mental health crisis."

Individuals in psychiatric crisis are often first seen in an emergency room, where they undergo medical and psychiatric evaluations before being referred to an on-call psychiatrist. This can lead to long waits in the emergency room, which can exacerbate patients’ psychiatric emergencies, delay implementation of treatment, and contribute to overcrowding in the Emergency Department.
“Providing the best care possible to patients in the appropriate setting is important, especially when a patient is in crisis,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Billings Clinic serves a broad geographic area and this new Psychiatric Stabilization Unit will provide immediate, essential services to patients from across the region facing psychiatric emergencies.”

Once completed, Billings Clinic’s Psychiatric Stabilization Unit will provide timely, specialized care for patients with urgent psychiatric conditions by allowing them to be clinically assessed by Emergency Department physicians and transferred to an environment that focuses exclusively on their psychiatric needs.

The stabilization unit improves care by reducing these wait times and gets patients into a space dedicated to treating acute psychiatric distress. It will also decrease inpatient admissions through prompt and effective treatment, allow better coordination with community services, help to decrease Emergency Department congestion, and allow better support of emergency psychiatric and behavioral health needs across Montana. This model of mental health care is unique in our region.

The funds provided by the Helmsley Charitable Trust will go toward construction and furnishings for the Psychiatric Stabilization Unit, located in a remodeled space at the Billings Clinic Psychiatric Center. The unit will initially accommodate twelve adults and five youth patients with the capacity to expand in the future. The Helmsley grant will also help Billings Clinic share its experience with this treatment model with other organizations, especially in rural areas.

In 2016, Billings Clinic Foundation highlighted the urgent mental health needs in our community and region and raised $1 million at the Billings Clinic Classic. From the Classic, $750,000 in proceeds will fund an endowment that will support the Psychiatric Stabilization Unit in the future. Other significant donations toward this project include the Fortin Foundation of Florida, the Charles M. Bair Family Trust; and Stillwater Mining Company. The general contractor on the project is Jones Construction and the architectural firm is A & E Architects, PC. Construction is underway and, thanks to this grant, the new unit will open in early 2018.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $320 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit

About Billings Clinic

Billings Clinic is Montana’s largest health system serving Montana, Wyoming, and the western Dakotas. A not-for-profit organization led by a physician CEO, a board of community members, nurses and physicians govern Billings Clinic. At its core, Billings Clinic is a physician-led, integrated multispecialty group practice with a 304-bed hospital and Level II trauma center. Billings Clinic has more than 4,100 employees, including more than 430 physicians and advanced practitioners offering more than 50 specialties. More information can be found at Billings Clinic sponsors Montana’s only Internal Medicine Residency Program, dedicated to the formation of general internists interested in rural and regional practice. Information on the residency program can be found at

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