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Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital opens in Tacoma

Posted on May 7, 2019 ( comments)

Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, a joint venture between CHI Franciscan and MultiCare Health System, opened its doors to begin caring for patients for the first time today. The new $45 million nonprofit hospital will transform behavioral health care in Washington state and increase access to much-needed behavioral health services for western Washington communities.

“Our mission is to serve all those in need,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan. “The need for access to behavioral health care and services continues to escalate throughout our state. Together with MultiCare, we recognized our shared responsibility to help address this crisis. Wellfound will serve as a critical resource not only for patients, but for providers and first responders to better assist individuals in need of specialized care and support.”

“We have looked forward to this day for a long time, and we know that Wellfound will have a profound and positive impact on our community by increasing rapid access to behavioral health services,” says Bill Robertson, President and CEO of MultiCare. “Thanks to our partnership with CHI Franciscan we are now able to address the vital need for more inpatient psychiatric beds in our community.”

As the two largest health systems in Pierce County, CHI Franciscan and MultiCare formed a unique joint venture in 2014 called the Alliance for South Sound Health to build and operate the new behavioral health hospital. Wellfound was designed with patient safety, experience and high-quality care at the forefront. The layout, architecture, calming aesthetics, natural lighting and nautical theme of the 67,000 square-foot hospital make it one of the region’s best-in-class facilities.

The hospital will provide voluntary and involuntary admissions with a focus on general adult psychiatric care for ages 18 and older with common psychiatric conditions such as acute depression, suicidal tendencies, self-injury, mania, psychosis and anxiety. Professional clinicians will treat behavioral health and co-existing secondary medical or chemical dependency conditions.

“Our highly trained doctors, nurses, licensed therapists and mental health professionals are focused on treating the whole person, taking into consideration the mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual states of well-being,” said Maureen Womack, CEO of Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital. “Adults experiencing a mental health crisis will have a safe, calm environment, and comprehensive clinical services to ensure a seamless transition back into the community.” 

Washington ranks 34 out of 50 states in terms of the abundance of mental health services when compared to access to care and inpatient capacity. While the national average for beds per 100,000 people is 26.1, Washington state currently averages 8.3 beds. Pierce County ranks among the lowest of all urban counties in the state with 2.8 beds per 100,000 people. Wellfound will significantly increase access to the number of adult inpatient beds in the area to approximately 16.3 beds per 100,000, almost double the state average.

“This is a big deal,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer. “Someone battling a mental health challenge shouldn’t end up on the streets or in prison. They need a helping hand. Having Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital begin serving people in the South Sound will address an absolutely essential need — expanding access to mental health care and ensuring people can get care in an appropriate setting. I applaud CHI Franciscan, MultiCare Health System, and the entire coalition of folks who worked together to accomplish the goal of providing behavioral health care to those who need it. It’s an amazing example of what we can accomplish together and I’m proud to be a partner in the effort.”

In the beginning, Wellfound will provide inpatient behavioral care for a limited number of adults, accepting referrals from hospital emergency rooms, first responders, and crisis centers. Individuals and walk-ins will be evaluated by a skilled assessment team to determine the level of care and treatment needed, and based on evaluation, may be admitted pending bed availability. The hospital will open its beds in phases, starting with eight inpatient and six crisis-stabilization beds, with more added over time. When fully up and running, the freestanding, two-story hospital will offer 120 inpatient beds and serve approximately 5,000 patients annually.

Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital is located at 3402 S. 19th Street on the MultiCare Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma.

Learn more about services at Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital

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MultiCare Health System
MultiCare is a not-for-profit health care organization with more than 20,000 team members, including employees, providers and volunteers. Learn more. More stories by this author
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