Source: Alameda Health System
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John George Psychiatric Hospital's Dr. Scott Zeller Named USA's Doctor of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health

OAKLAND, Calif., March 3, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alameda Health System (AHS) announced that Dr. Scott Zeller has received the distinction of Doctor of the Year by the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council). Dr. Zeller serves as the Chief of Psychiatric Emergency Services for John George Psychiatric Hospital (JGPH), a member of Alameda Health System. He will be honored during the National Council's "Awards of Excellence" ceremony on April 21 to be held in Orlando, Florida.

The Doctor of the Year award is bestowed upon an individual who has achieved a lasting impact on their patients and community by inspiring and improving lives. The prestigious award is selected by an independent panel comprised of medical experts from the field of behavioral health medicine. Dr. Zeller's accomplishments include the development of multicenter guidelines considered Best Practice in the Evaluation and Treatment of Agitation. His contributions continue to advance Psychiatric Emergency Services with a clinical framework now known as the Alameda Model. The protocols have proven to reduce delays to psychiatric care by more than 80 percent and unnecessary hospitalizations by more than 75 percent by delivering timely, quality care in a more appropriate setting.

"Patients in the midst of a mental health crisis are often trapped in emergency room limbo for hours or even days until a psychiatric bed becomes available. Dr. Zeller's Alameda Model offers a solution to this nationwide problem by expediting transfers from emergency departments to regional psychiatric emergency services. We are proud to honor him for this groundbreaking reform, which has given thousands improved access and quality of care while significantly reducing health care costs," said Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Dr. Zeller will be honored along with fellow behavioral health awardees as part of the National Council's annual conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Conference Center. The Awards of Excellence feature three categories: the Impact Awards honoring the innovative efforts of individuals and organizations who change the lives of children, adults and families living with mental illnesses and addictions; the Inspiring Hope Awards honoring the contributions of individuals living with mental illnesses and addictions, as well as those treating and supporting them; and the Advocacy Leadership Awards honoring individuals and organizations that have led legislative or regulatory advocacy efforts to expand access to services for people living with mental illnesses and addictions.

"This honor is a tremendous endorsement of Dr. Zeller's compassion and ongoing contributions to the field of behavioral health," said Guy Qvistgaard, Chief Administrative Officer at JPGH. "We are fortunate to have him on our team. His dedication and medical expertise have improved the lives of countless patients throughout Alameda County and beyond given the growing national attention to the Alameda Model."

Located in San Leandro, JGPH provides psychiatric emergency and acute care services to adults experiencing severe and disabling mental illnesses, and treats all who seek care regardless of their economic or social status. The hospital provides essential care for nearly 100 percent of all acute psychiatric emergencies in Alameda County. Its therapeutic model is solution-focused and moves patients toward recovery. The JGPH Labyrinth Therapy Program is the second of its kind in the nation and the only program on the West Coast. JGPH is a national leader in the non-use of 'seclusion and restraint' for emergency patients.

The facility has also received recognition for continually improving the lives of people living with mental illness from the California Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Reach Out, a client-run hospital visitation program that is part of the Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients. NAMI California bestowed its inaugural Outstanding Treatment Provider award on JGPH as well as honored it with its Zero Tolerance for Seclusion and Restraints award. Reach Out has honored JGPH for its outstanding Occupational Therapy and Activity Therapy departments.

About Alameda Health System (AHS)

Alameda Health System, a major public health care provider headquartered in Oakland, California, is recognized as a world-class patient and family centered system of care with more than 4,500 employees, 1,000 physicians and 480 volunteers. Their facilities include Highland Hospital, a major regional trauma center and teaching hospital; Alameda Hospital, an acute care facility providing emergency, in-patient and outpatient services in Alameda; San Leandro Hospital, which provides emergency and in-patient hospital care services; John George Psychiatric Hospital, an acute and emergency care facility in San Leandro; Fairmont Hospital, an acute rehabilitation hospital and skilled nursing facility, also in San Leandro; and four ambulatory wellness centers in Oakland as well as in Newark and Hayward.

About The National Council for Behavioral Health

The National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council) is the unifying voice of America's community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000 + member organizations employing 750,000 staff, we serve our nation's most vulnerable citizens — more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S. and has trained approximately 280,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities.

Media contacts
Jerri Randrup
jrandrup@alamedahealthsystem.org
510-437-4732

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