Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP)

The Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) is a hospital-based emergency psychiatric service open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. The New York State Office of Mental Health licenses it. The program exists to provide an organized system for responding to psychiatric emergencies for evaluation, intervention, treatment and referral for the residents of Suffolk County who have demonstrated a need for emergency psychiatric evaluation or treatment. The staff is a specially trained group of psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and nursing assistants who are committed to providing the best emergency care to your family member, significant other or patient/client.

CPEP is the designated entry point into the mental health system for individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Comprehensive medical, physical and psychiatric assessments are completed. Alternatives to inpatient treatment to persons in crisis will be given to those who do not require admission to an acute inpatient service. Transfers to other acute psychiatric care facilities may be arranged for persons who are in need of an inpatient level of care.

Evaluations may take several hours for the examination and referral to be completed. In some cases where additional evaluation or a period of observation is needed, before a definite disposition can be made, the patient may be retained or admitted to an "Extended Observation Bed" in CPEP for up to 72 hours. Referrals may be made for persons with dual diagnosis (mental illness and drug or alcohol abuse/mental illness and mental retardation or developmental disability), enabling people with multiple problems to receive a coordinated approach to referral and treatment.

A psychiatrist evaluates each patient. This evaluation includes an assessment of the present episode, past psychiatric history, substance abuse, family and psychosocial context, medical history, and current status. A mental status examination, and a physical examination that includes a physical history will be required if admitted to a hospital.

A certified social worker assesses the patients' psychosocial needs including financial, insurance, residential, and current support system. They may also consult with family, primary therapist and other treating professionals to complete the evaluation.'

If a patient is discharged home, or is referred to emergency housing or other residential facility, the CPEP staff counsels the patient concerning his or her needs and the plan for follow-up care.