Centra to build Commonwealth’s first emPATH unit in Lynchburg

Construction is funded by an anonymous $1M donation

Centra Health is opening a department focused on emergencies and behavioral health, thanks to an anonymous $1 million donation

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg General Hospital’s Emergency Department is getting a new addition for patients with behavioral health issues, thanks to an anonymous donation of $1M.

Centra announced Monday that the donation will fund the Commonwealth’s first emPATH unit, with construction beginning this fall.

EmPATH stands for Emergency Psychiatric Assessment, Treatment, and Healing, according to the release, and is a model of care made by Dr. Scott Zeller.

Centra said that the emPATH unit will help eliminate isolation and extended wait times experienced by placing patients in a shared, open area where caregivers, experts, and other patients support and interact with one another.

The primary focus of the emPATH unit is to be a calming, comfortable space where patients can be assessed and treated by Centra caregivers, according to the release.

The unit will be constructed within Lynchburg General Hospital’s Emergency Department, Centra said, and construction is expected to be complete and operating by early 2023.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.