Compass Virtual Solving the Growing Shortage of Access to Psychiatric and Intensive Behavioral Health Services in Illinois

Chicago, IL, February 17, 2022 --( Compass Virtual, by Compass Health Center, an evidence-based Partial Hospitalization (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient (IOP) virtual behavioral health treatment program, announced today its milestone of delivering more than 20,000 patient-days of intensive care in 2021. Compass Virtual's announcement kicks off the expansion of its mission to address the state-wide mental health crisis by increasing access to individualized PHP/IOP programs for adolescents, young adults, and adults across Illinois. This expansion will provide Illinois residents with non-hospital-based PHP/IOP mental health access while maintaining life at home. 

Compass Virtual was launched in early 2020 by Compass Health Center, Illinois' largest provider of PHP/IOP and psychiatric services. For over a decade, Compass Health Center has provided outcomes-driven and patient-centered intensive behavioral care through brick-and-mortar locations throughout the Chicagoland area. Compass Virtual was designed, with the planning stages long proceeding the current pandemic, to increase availability to PHP/IOP levels of mental health care in Illinois-based communities suffering from inadequate access to critical intensive behavioral health services. It leverages the experience and training of Compass Health Center’s brick-and-mortar locations to deliver comprehensive PHP/IOP programs, which include video-based group therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, psychiatric visits, and experiential therapy. 

"There was a mental health crisis before the pandemic, and there is a massive shortage of both psychiatrists and specialized clinicians in this country," said Claudia Welke, MD, Chief Medical Officer, and co-founder of Compass Health Center and Compass Virtual. "The need for high-quality, intermediate levels of mental health care, as an alternative to the Emergency Room or inpatient hospitalization, is critical. Patients are placed on months-long waiting lists to see a psychiatrist. At Compass, patients see a psychiatrist within days. This shortage of psychiatric services is more pronounced for adolescents and in rural communities. Compass Virtual mirrors our in-person group therapy-based intensive programs, with equal patient outcomes." 

Compass Virtual partners with community stakeholders, hospitals, insurance companies, schools, and local therapists, to help patients seeking PHP/IOP level care to maintain life at home while receiving life-changing intensive behavioral health treatment online. The goal of treatment is to help patients return to a lower level of care, such as once-a-week outpatient therapy, as quickly as possible. Compass Virtual, like Compass Health Center, is enmeshed with the communities it serves, providing clinician-led workshops, webinars, continuing education credits, and access to knowledge from providers and licensed clinicians.

Even as Compass Virtual focuses on expanding PHP/IOP access in Illinois, plans are underway to expand the offering to additional states in 2022 and beyond. Compass's goal is to provide access to intensive care for children, adolescents, young adults, and adults in need throughout the country to change lives for the better.

About Compass Virtual

Compass Health Center was founded in 2011 by David Schreiber, MD, and Claudia Welke, MD, child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrists who recognized the Chicago community's need for intensive, non-hospital-based psychiatric care. While working together in a hospital that provided PHP/IOP and inpatient hospitalization, Drs. Schreiber and Welke realized that there were not enough psychiatrists or hospital beds to treat the children they saw in behavioral health crises. As a result, children were being placed on long wait lists, which often only made them sicker, resulting in ER visits that would lead to admission for inpatient care. Drs. Schreiber and Welke realized that with the proper resources in place, many of these ER and inpatient hospitalizations could have been avoided and replaced with a level of care that was timelier, more appropriate, and less costly and disruptive.

Compass Health Center's evidence-based, comprehensive treatment model provides patients ages five through adulthood with intensive care while maintaining life at home. Meeting patients' behavioral health needs leads to better, outcomes-driven care. Today, Compass Health Center is Illinois' largest and most respected PHP/IOP program, with more than 45 full-time psychiatrists/PNP's and 350+ highly trained master-level therapists covering both location-based and virtual care models. Our primary treatment modalities include psychiatry, group therapy (e.g., DBT, CBT, ACT, ERP), individual therapy, family therapy, experiential therapy, and psychiatric nursing.

Available for Interviews

Claudia Welke, MD

Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder

Claudia Welke, MD, is a native to the North Shore area. She completed her medical training at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She then completed her psychiatric residency in Adult Psychiatry and a fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, where she earned various honors and distinctions.

Upon her return to the North Shore, Dr. Welke became an attending physician at Highland Park Hospital, where she saw patients across their lifespan in various program settings, including inpatient hospitalization and outpatient care. During this time, she acted as the Director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry training for the University of Chicago fellows rotating through the Hospital. Dr. Welke is double boarded in both Adult and Child and Adolescent psychiatry.

Dr. Welke has appeared as a mental health medical expert on WGN 9, Fox News, and in many print and online media sources

Media Contact: Kelly Jones

Compass Health Center

312.404.4127 |
Compass Health Center
Kelly Jones