Health systems file to build new psych hospital
Tacoma, WA – CHI Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System filed a Certificate of Need application with the Washington State Department of Health on Dec.16, 2014 to jointly build and operate a $41 million, 120-bed psychiatric hospital in Tacoma.
The Certificate of Need review is conducted by the Department of Health to ensure that communities truly need facilities and services proposed by health care providers.
MultiCare Health System and CHI Franciscan Health have created an independent, not-for-profit organization to operate the new hospital. The entity and plan for this joint venture were formed in response to an increasing need to provide mental health services in Pierce County and surrounding areas.
The preferred site for the new hospital is at MultiCare’s Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma. A due diligence process for the location will be conducted. It is anticipated that state review could be completed by fall 2015 and the new hospital could begin caring for patients three years later.
The lack of psychiatric inpatient capacity is especially acute in Pierce County. When comparing urban counties within our state, Pierce County sits at the very bottom in terms of inpatient psychiatric capacity, with only 2.8 beds per 100,000 people in our community. This compares with 14.2 statewide and 27.1 in King County.
“Providing appropriate facilities for those in mental crisis ensures they receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time, while also reducing overcrowding and wait times in hospital emergency rooms,” said Kathy Bressler, president of St. Clare Hospital, a part of CHI Franciscan Health. “Our goal is for all patients to receive the appropriate, attentive care they need.”
“Our community has a critical need to improve access to behavioral health services,” said Tim Holmes, vice president of behavioral health at MultiCare. “Together, we have a major role to play in addressing this need. We believe in improving the health of our communities and this supports our mission.
Partnering for better patient careLocally founded and the largest health systems in Pierce County, MultiCare Health System and CHI Franciscan Health have a history of successful collaboration to provide local solutions for improved health care in the community, including:
- The two systems brought Level II trauma service to the region, working with Pierce County Medical Society and Madigan Army Medical Center. Now in its 15th year, Trauma Trust LLC, dba Tacoma Trauma, transfers the trauma facility for the day between St. Joseph Medical Center and Tacoma General Hospital each morning at 7 a.m. This unique partnership is recognized and lauded for its success
- The two jointly own the Carol Milgard Breast Center in Tacoma, managed by TRA Medical Imaging. Since opening its doors in 2009, the not-for-profit organization has been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, and has greatly enhanced access to screening and diagnostic mammograms and other breast services for women, regardless of ability to pay.
A Washington State Supreme Court opinion earlier this year upheld a Pierce County Supreme Court ruling, affirming that patients in psychiatric crisis cannot be boarded in hospitals as a way to avoid overcrowding in certified evaluation and treatment (E&T) facilities.
Patients in need of mental evaluation and treatment often wait in local hospital emergency rooms, each under a single-bed certification granted by Western State Hospital, until a bed becomes available at a certified mental-health facility. This process is known as "psychiatric boarding."
The legal decision brings to the forefront the critical need for additional inpatient beds for behavioral health.