Tim Pylko, MD on PCH Pasadena
Executive Director Dr. Tim Pylko discusses the PCH Pasadena Program and how it is uniquely positioned to help individuals deal with complex psychological disorders and serious mental illnesses within an attractive and contained healing environment.
I’m Dr. Tim Pylko, I’m a psychiatrist. I practice in the San Gabriel Valley and I also do inpatient work but really my passion is this project with PCH. Our program is called PCH Pasadena and it’s really focused on patients that have a lot more need for structure and supervision. It’s typically patients who have serious mental illnesses that impact their ability to function; it could be schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, other really complex disorders. But again I feel very very passionate about looking at individuals on a bio, psycho, social, spiritual continuum. And that to really understand a person, you really need to evaluate all levels and really have to integrate into their sense of identity. And it’s really embedded in a theme that everyone in our facility embraces which is about connection, respect, and the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. And it’s really kind of an act of love.
So one of the problems that I see that has evolved in psychology, with the advent of the psycho-pharmacological innovations that have occurred over the past forty years and our understanding of the neuroscience behind the brain and how that relates to psychiatric illnesses; it’s created powerful tools for symptom treatment, but I think unless that is integrated into a bigger sense of who the individual is, and that treatment has to be embedded in a really mutually trusting relationship, it’s not that effective. And that is something that I think is often missed in our profession today, I think largely driven by the way insurance companies try to organize how male health care is driven, it really sometimes makes it look more like an industrialized process to deliver medications to treat symptoms, but it’s not treating people. What we do at PCH Pasadena is really about embracing the individual and trying to look at all their needs and try to help them achieve a better understanding of themselves, a better relationship to their families and community, and feel more efficacious in their life to lead a prosperous life.
Jeff Ball and I have known each other for a long time. Jeff Ball is the CEO and Founder of PCH and early on in PCH’s existence there became situations where individuals were there and needed a brief stay at a hospital, so he would call me and we started developing this dialogue; I would treat them in the hospital then send them back if it was appropriate and increasingly I started sending PCH some patients from my own practice, seeing the kind of efficacy that PCH was able to have, with the kind of treatments that they have. But there was a kind of patient that was hard to make work; patients that needed more structure, more focus on the importance of medication management to a level that was beyond what was going on in the main campus. And this type of patient might not really fit in with the milieu of a lot of the other patients here. So a few years ago Jeff came up with the idea of maybe we should open up a second campus, closer to the hospital that I work at with the idea of focusing on that population and patients could go back and forth if it was appropriate.
And actually, as a psychiatrist who treats inpatients, it’s really hard to find placements for this population. I mean anywhere in the country there are very few places that I have any confidence in to handle this patient population. So in a way, it’s been a real gift to have the opportunity to try to build something with that in mind and to really have a creative interaction in the development of this. And I’m very very proud of what we’ve done.
Timothy Pylko, MD, Executive Director, PCH Pasadena
The PCH Pasadena Center provides sophisticated, comprehensive treatment of complex psychiatric disorders that require more structure and supervision than traditional residential or outpatient treatment settings. You can learn about our program below: