ECMC Intensive Outpatient Program

Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) provides some of the most innovative and diverse Behavioral Health services in New York State and beyond. Our Regional Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health provides mental health, psychiatric, and substance use treatment services. In addition to being one of the largest substance use treatment centers in Western New York, ECMC is the only Buffalo-area hospital that offers a psychiatrist in the emergency room and substance use evaluations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (year-to-date in 2022, approximately 9,000 of the 57,000 patients cared for in ECMC’s KeyBank Trauma and Emergency Department presented with a Behavioral Health condition). Our team of compassionate specialists provides care on both an inpatient and outpatient basis to best serve the needs of our community and patients. Through discussions with these dedicated caregivers, a new behavioral health program at ECMC was created in January 2021, the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Clinical staff saw a gap and felt an additional level of care was needed, suggesting a step-up/step-down outpatient program.

IOP is a structured, outpatient treatment opportunity that engages participants three days per week over four weeks. It serves as a step-down program for those individuals in need following completion of ECMC’s Partial Hospital Program (PHP) or can be a step-up from traditional outpatient programs for newly diagnosed patients.

All IOP sessions are individualized for each patient and the program may run longer or shorter based on need. The goal of the program is for participants to achieve mental stability and resume daily living. With a variety of treatment methods, IOP provides access to medications and concentrated counseling services in a way that is tailored to fit specific needs.  Each patient, regardless of the program model, will engage in group and individual psychotherapy. Family involvement is also an important aspect of the program. Family group sessions are held weekly to provide loved ones with education on self-care and information on maintaining healthy boundaries. Individualized case management, medication education, and therapeutic activities are also provided.  Group therapy consists of skill building and processes, including topics such as coping skills, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), assertiveness, meditation/relaxation, anger management, psychoeducation, grief & loss, stress management, codependency, conflict resolution, and others.

The innovative program has created a new alternative to inpatient hospitalization, which may shorten necessary hospital stays, and reduce readmissions by allowing for a transition to the IOP treatment model. IOP has filled a gap in care, allowing patients a choice of therapeutic methods.

All treatment programs at ECMC are certified by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

Through our comprehensive services and compassionate care, we are able to deliver on our mission of providing a safe, supportive patient and family-centered environment that allows for the rapid stabilization of psychiatric symptoms and promotes an integrated transition back into the community. In addition, we are committed to exceeding our patients’ expectations, maintaining the highest standards, and promoting a positive and rewarding environment.

Our Doctors

Meet our dedicated team of doctors and psychiatrists who staff the Regional Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at ECMC and work alongside our staff to deliver patient-centric health care.


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Michael Cummings, MD
Doctors, Behavioral Health, Mental Health and Psychiatry, Physician Leadership, Medical Directors
President, Medical-Dental Staff
Associate Medical Director
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Victoria Brooks, MD
Doctors, Behavioral Health, Mental Health and Psychiatry
Director of the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP)
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Zhanna Elberg, MD
Doctors, Behavioral Health, Mental Health and Psychiatry, Behavioral Health Navigate Program
Director, Psychotherapy Training
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