UPMC Altoona Family Based Services
UPMC Altoona - Critical Incident Stress Debriefing
Programs that help individuals (e.g., paramedics, police officers, disaster workers) who have been involved in emergency operations under conditions of extreme stress or people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as workplace or school violence recover from the traumatizing effects of the experience utilizing a therapeutic technique which enables them to process the event and put it behind them. A CISD enables workers and others to discuss what happened, their role in the event, the impact of the experience and skills for coping with the after effects. A CISD will generally alleviate the acute stress responses which sometimes appear at the scene or immediately thereafter and will at least inhibit delayed stress reactions which can appear days, weeks or even months later.
501 Howard Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
Eligibility: The Access Center serves all persons without regard to race, creed, gender, age, national origin, disability or social and economic status
Hours: 8:00AM-4:00PM, Monday through Friday
Phone/FAX Numbers
  • (814) 889-3567 Main
  • (814) 889-7999 Fax
  • (814) 889-2141 Other
Intake Procedure: What is the Access Center?The Access Center is the central point of contact for the Blair County MH/MR/D&A Program to arrange services for persons experiencing mental illness and/or drug or alcohol problems. The Access Center serves all persons receiving county funding, state Medical Assistance and those with private-pay insurance coverage for these services. It also serves as a free source of information and referral. What Does the Access Center Do? The Access Center is a telephone-managed center that offers confidential and easy access to the mental health services and drug and/or alcohol services that are offered by county contracted treatment providers. How Do I Get an Appointment for Treatment? The Access center does not treat persons, but will determine the type of services needed, and will link consumers with their choice of providers. Generally, triage staff of the Access Center will arrange an appointment for the consumer with the provider of choice at the time of contact. Anyone needing mental health or drug and alcohol services may call the Access Center at (814)889-2279 or (800) 540-4690. What Do I Need to Say When I Call? Please be prepared to offer a summary of the problem you or the person you are referring is experiencing. The Access Center staff member, who is clinically-trained, will determine the least restrictive, clinically appropriate level of treatment. The Access Center staff will ask you to choose the provider of that service and will make an appointment for you with that chosen provider. When you call, please have your insurance information along with demographic (age, gender, etc.) information available. For example, your insurance card or medical assistance card. Services are provided to all age groups and are available on a sliding scale based upon your ability to pay.
Geographical Area: Blair County; surrounding counties
Helpful Tips: We are conveniently located in Blair Medical Center, 501 Howard Ave., across from Altoona Hospital campus. We are in Building C, Suite 200. While we are primarily a telephone service, walk-ins are welcome.
Facility/ADA access: Yes for entrance to building, within building and restrooms.
Service Contact: Christine Bracken-Zernick, Central Point of Contact Supervisor, 814-889-3567, Zernickcm@upmc.edu
  • Supportive Therapies
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* The community resource directory information is up to date to the best of our knowledge. However, you should always call the provider to confirm this information and make an appointment. Be sure to confirm payment information with the provider, if payment is required. Pennsylvania 211 does not rate, recommend or endorse any agency. We simply provide information as a public service.
UPMC Altoona Family Based Services
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