Begin Main Content Area

​Clarks Summit State Hospital

Clarks Summit State Hospital is an extended acute care psychiatric hospital serving 11 counties in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania. The facility is located approximately eight miles north of the city of Scranton in a suburban setting.

The hospital maintains Medicare certification, a survey team from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) visited the hospital in August 2005 and certified that the hospital is in full compliance with the special conditions for participation in the programs.

Clarks Summit State Hospital is part of a continuum of care that provides individualized psychiatric treatment for adults with serious and persistent mental illness. This care is accomplished within the framework of an integrated community mental health system. While Clarks Summit State Hospital may be considered the most restrictive part of this continuum of care, the hospital's overriding goal is to assist with the recovery of consumers so that they can be returned to their home communities near family and friends.

The hospital's service area encompasses the following counties: Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne and Wyoming. These counties are both rural and urban in nature and have a total population of approximately 1.1 million residents.

All active treatment at Clarks Summit State Hospital is accomplished within the context of a treatment team led by a licensed psychiatrist. Other important members of the team come from the following disciplines: nursing, general medicine, social service, psychology, occupational therapy, therapeutic recreation, vocational adjustment services, chaplain services, and dietary services. Each patient at the hospital has an individualized treatment plan which is geared toward recovery.

Clarks Summit State Hospital takes great pride in respecting the rights of our consumers. The hospital provides an external patient advocate from the Advocacy Alliance of Pennsylvania. It also maintains an open-door policy and makes frequent visitations to the residential units to enhance patient access to hospital administration. A Patient Advisory Council has been established through which consumers and key staff members meet monthly to discuss patient issues and concerns.

Clarks Summit State Hospital has used its strategic planning process to provide many residential and physical plant improvements in recent years. The Strategic Plan includes input from consumers, employees, family members, and community advocates. This process has also provided the impetus for a number of clinical program improvements that are described in the patient program section.

Monica Bradbury, RN, MS
Chief Executive Officer

Clarks Summit State Hospital Fairchild Hearing

The Department of Human Services (DHS) held a public hearing on the declining resident population at Clarks Summit State Hospital, Lackawanna County, on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at the University of Scranton. State law requires DHS to hold a public hearing on any state mental health or intellectual disability facility within 30 days following a downsizing of 20 percent or more in resident, staff or patient population, or within 30 days of a closure announcement. The decrease inpatient population at Clarks Summit State Hospital is a result of numerous factors, primarily the implementation of successful community hospital integration projects, advancements in pharmacological treatment for many patients, and enhancements to the community mental health system, which provide alternatives to state hospital inpatient treatment. Click here to read the transcript from the hearing.

Admission Process

Consumers admitted to Clarks Summit State Hospital must come directly from an inpatient hospitalization at a community hospital. Admission referrals from the general public are not accepted. If the community hospital's treating physician determines that the consumer requires longer-term psychiatric treatment, a referral is initiated by the appropriate county

Referrals are accepted from the following counties:

  • Lower Lackawanna County, Scranton Counseling Center: (570) 348-6100
  • Upper Lackawanna County, Susquehanna — Northwest Human Services:
    (570) 282-1732
  • Wayne County Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention: (570) 253-9200
  • Carbon-Monroe-Pike Counties MH/DS Program: (570) 420-1900
  • Upper Luzerne County and Wyoming County — Community Counseling Services of NEPA: (570) 552-6000
  • Lower Luzerne County — Northeast Counseling Center: (570) 735-7590
  • Bradford-Sullivan County MH/ID Program: (570) 265-1760
  • Tioga County Human Services Agency: (570) 724-5766 

Human Rights

It is the policy of both the Department of Human Services and Clarks Summit State Hospital that consumer rights are protected and that each patient is treated with dignity and respect.

All consumers are admitted and treated without regard to race, color, religious creed, national origin, age, sex or mental and physical disability.

Upon admission to the hospital, each consumer is furnished a "Clarks Summit State Hospital Patient Handbook" which defines his or her rights, responsibilities and services available during their hospital stay.

The hospital educates consumers about their rights at the time of admission and these rights are reviewed annually. The Social Service Department is instrumental in this educational process with regard to maintaining the protection of rights. Additionally, an external mental health advocate is available at the hospital. This individual investigates rights complaints/concerns made by consumers, family members or other interested parties. If a rights violation is determined, the external advocate will involve appropriate hospital departmental staff in a complaint resolution process.

Finally, there is a hospital Human Rights Committee whose function is to review hospital policies, procedures, and programming to ensure rights compliance. This committee consists of hospital staff, consumers, consumers, community advocacy representatives, and the external mental health advocate.

Any concerns that may arise regarding consumer safety and/or care may also be addressed to the hospital's administration.

Consumer Programs

Treatment needs are reviewed and consumer-specific interventions are planned to meet these needs. In order to achieve the individual's treatment goals, a myriad of treatment and psychosocial programs are available. In addition, specialized programs are offered.

Programs occur on the ward units, on-site at the hospital and in community locations.

Unit Programs

The programs offered on the unit include, but are not limited to; individual and group therapies, medication education, symptom management, anger management, occupational therapy, therapeutic recreation, discharge planning group, money management, nutritional planning, co-occurring disorders evaluation, and groups.

Community programs that are held on grounds are available to all units. The Vocational Adjustment Services program provides a novice workshop, a sheltered workshop, as well as a satellite unit. The hospital provides a Paid Patient Employee Program and vocational placements in the community. Cognitive Remediation is a program intended to help individuals learn to focus on tasks, increase memory and improve basic living skills. Occupational therapy programs focus on teaching consumers the skills needed to succeed in the community, including; fine and gross motor skills, money management, shopping, budgeting, grooming, clothing care and the selection and food preparation. The Therapeutic Recreation Department offers a wide variety of activities at the Recreation Hall, which include; bowling, general fitness, weight training, movies, video games, dances, and special holiday functions. They also offer an aquatic program in conjunction with the local YMCA.

Individuals with a co-occurring disorder receive group services from our Mental Illness Substance Abuse (MISA) Program. The group programs offered include Double Trouble and AA meetings; both at the hospital and in the community, as well as, Alcohol Information and Drug Education (AIDE).

The Greenhouse Horticultural Therapy Program (HTP) is a special program offered by the occupational therapy department. This recently constructed building was designed specifically for programs that afford consumers the opportunity to explore the healing quality of plants. Consumer groups from all units plant seeds, nurture seedlings, transplant and then tend the gardens closest to their respective units. These flowers also assist in beautifying the landscape of the hospital. Recently, the HTP program has provided outreach to the community.

The Transitional Living Program is conducted at Gateway House and provides a variety of psychosocial rehabilitation programs including; medication education, social skills, health teaching, laundry, cooking, money management, and public transportation.

Clarks Summit State Hospital provides a library that is readily available to all consumers and staff. In addition to written materials; CDs, audio cassettes and videotapes are also available. There is also an active program schedule presenting self-help programs, a consumer newsletter, computer training, and email access.

Community Programming

Community programming is available to prepare a consumer to return to community living. It is advantageous for consumers to participate in community events and activities to assist them in their transition and eventual discharge. The hospital has developed numerous activities that foster normalization and recovery. The Occupational Therapy Department has Helping Hands Groups which provide volunteer work in the community, such as Meals on Wheels and Earth Day Cleanup Program. The Occupational Therapy Department also works with the Social Services Department to provide Breakfast Clubs that enable consumers to dine at community restaurants. Participation in Breakfast Clubs assists consumers in improving money management skills, improving socialization skills and fostering community awareness. These skills prepare consumers to actively participate in their own discharge planning. The Therapeutic Recreation Department offers many off-grounds activities including; concerts, baseball, and hockey games, movies, and cultural events. Consumers also attend community programs offered by the Advocacy Alliance. These programs include Friendship 7 at The Recovery Center in Scranton.

Clarks Summit State Hospital recognizes that the transition to the community may be difficult for some. In order to reduce stress and provide continued support, the Recovery Outreach Team was established. The purpose of this team is to work collaboratively with the consumer and treatment team during the discharge process and then follow along with the consumer post-discharge. The Recovery Outreach Team will then work in concert with all the aftercare community support services and workers. The Recovery Outreach Team helps ensure that consumers keep their scheduled appointments.

History of Clarks Summit State Hospital

Clarks Summit State Hospital originated in 1862 when citizens of Providence Township developed a poor farm. As the years passed, the mentally ill were also provided care at the facility. At a later date, the responsibility for the operation of the poor farm was assumed by the City of Scranton, the Borough of Dunmore, and eventually Lackawanna County. By the early 1940s, the Hillside Home and Hillside Hospital were operational in the buildings currently named Abington Hall and Newton Hall. The name was changed from Hillside Home and Hospital to Clarks Summit State Hospital on Oct. 1, 1943, when the Department of Human Services assumed the responsibility to operate and manage state mental hospitals.

By the mid-1950's Clarks Summit State Hospital was serving the residents of Lackawanna County and approximately 150 Luzerne County residents who were transferred in 1947 after the Ransom Home was destroyed by fire. The total hospital population at that time was 1,450 consumers.

As newer types of psychotropic medications and other psychosocial rehabilitative approaches were found effective in the treatment of the mentally ill, the census of the hospital declined. The hospital was then assigned the responsibility for various other geographical areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Several new buildings were constructed: Hilltop East (originally a tuberculosis ward), Hilltop West (a geriatric building), a Recreation Hall, a Laundry Facility and a Warehouse.

As the consumer population declined, the hospital's Long Term Care Unit was closed in May 1998. Today the hospital has a bed capacity of 242, all of which are designated for adult psychiatric in-patient services.