Recovery Centers of America Appoints Distinguished Mental Health Experts for New Behavioral Health Strategy and Treatment Services
Authored by Ken Redmile
The mental health crisis in America is showing no signs of slowing and Recovery Centers of America (RCA) is greatly expanding services to address the need for treatment by appointing two esteemed experts in the mental health treatment field to its leadership team.
Dr. Hyong Un, RCA’s new Chief Medical Officer, has decades of psychiatric health care expertise, and has been a featured writer on mental health in Fortune Magazine and US News & World Report. Now, he’s leading the development and implementation of RCA’s company-wide integrated behavioral health strategy. This includes RCA’s expansion into outpatient mental health services specially designed to treat patients who have mental health conditions as a primary diagnosis. Dr. Un also oversees RCA’s acclaimed inpatient and outpatient services for patients with a primary substance use disorder (SUD).
Prior to joining RCA, Dr. Un was the Chief Psychiatric Officer for Aetna/CVS and led in the creation of Aetna’s vast behavioral health program for the insurer’s more than 1 million health providers across the nation. Dr. Un received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed his residency at University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
“RCA’s vision for integrated behavioral health services is accessible, precise and personalized,” Dr. Un said. “World-class mental health care demands precision with diagnosis, treatment planning and delivery. All three elements have to align to meet the patient where they are with their recovery needs and their readiness to change.”
Joining Dr. Un, Dr. Peter Vernig, has been appointed as Vice President of Mental Health Services. Dr. Vernig will oversee the expansion of mental health care across the organization including outpatient, inpatient, and digital health. Prior to joining RCA, Dr. Vernig was Chief Clinical Officer at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, the oldest private psychiatric hospital in the country.
Dr. Vernig is well known in the mental health field and speaks widely on treatment for mental illness, emerging health trends, and modern behavioral health strategies.
“The focus of RCA’s mental health program is to provide effective and compassionate care for people living with mental illness in a structured program that meets patients’ individual needs,” Dr. Vernig said. “We have seen the need for mental health services grow exponentially. This was happening prior to the COVID pandemic, and the fear, isolation, and uncertainty of the past several years has accelerated this trend. We have developed new RCA programs to help our patients address their mental health needs whether they have a substance use disorder or not.”
More than 44 million Americans suffer from some type of mental health disorder each year. To address the scale of this growing problem, Drs. Un and Vernig’s comprehensive structured mental health program is offered at the outpatient level for patients with the many different forms of mental illness. Evidence-based care is available for patients with bipolar, depressive, anxiety, trauma, personality, and many other mental health conditions who are experiencing a wide variety of symptoms.
“Symptoms and signs of mental health conditions are really difficult to discern for a lay person,” explained Dr. Un. “Very often, it evolves slowly, in a way that feels like, it’s just stress or it’s just me adjusting to a relationship issue. When we start to notice that we’re not relating to others like we used to, that our patterns of sleep, energy, and appetite have changed, or whether we’re not just functioning well at school or at work, those are all signs and symptoms that we might benefit from an assessment.” See video of Dr. Un’s comments here.
As with RCA treatment for substance use disorder, mental health care is affordable and covered in-network with many private insurers.
RCA’s new mental health outpatient treatment program is available now in Pennsylvania and in Indiana, with additional programs expected this year across the RCA network. Care is available with highly skilled psychiatrists, therapists and counselors able to treat patients in their homes or dormitories across the state through virtual care, hybrid options, as well as in person in specific locations.
Dr. Un and Vernig also oversee successful RCA inpatient programs to treat mental health disorders coexisting with SUD. Called the Balance program, this treatment option is available at many RCA inpatient and outpatient treatment centers across the country and has been acclaimed widely by patients and families across the RCA network. The program uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy to address the needs of patients. “So many people in recovery from drugs and alcohol also live with the challenges of mental illness. This can make staying healthy in the long term more challenging. By focusing on both, we aim to treat not just the symptoms of a patient’s substance use disorder but the source as well,” said Dr. Vernig.
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