CHI Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System break ground on Tacoma Behavioral Health Hospital

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Gov. Jay Inslee and Rep. Derek Kilmer (right) joined CHI Franciscan and MultiCare leadership in the ceremonial groundbreaking. Photo courtesy of chi franciscan health

New hospital will enhance continuum of care and increase access to much-needed behavioral health services in Pierce and South King counties

CHI Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System broke ground Sept. 29 on the Tacoma Behavioral Health Hospital, which will transform Washington state’s health care landscape. The $45 million hospital will enhance the continuum of care and increase access to much-needed behavioral health services in Pierce County, South King County and surrounding areas.

“This new behavioral health hospital will help Washingtonians get the continuum of care services they need,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “CHI Franciscan and MultiCare are working together to provide an innovative community solution to address the critical shortage of mental health services in our state. This crucial integration has been a priority of my administration and I am pleased that these collaborative efforts will help ensure people have access to mental health services and will help us build a stronger, more comprehensive mental health system that treats people in their own communities.”

The transformative behavioral health hospital will serve as a non-profit, 120-bed hospital that treats approximately 5,000 patients per year. The hospital will focus on treating behavioral health and co-existing secondary chemical dependency conditions and provide critical services, including: stabilization and recovery services for adults; voluntary and involuntary admissions; comprehensive psychiatric services; individual and family counseling; crisis, anxiety and mood stabilization services; social support services and resources for patients and family members; co-occurring chemical dependency program; occupational and physical therapy; and individualized discharge planning services.

“This groundbreaking marks the beginning of our efforts to address the significant need for behavioral health services in our state, particularly in Pierce and South King counties,” said CEO of CHI Franciscan Health, Ketul J. Patel. “Our new hospital will increase access for individuals and families in need of crucial high-quality behavioral health care and is another step in our journey to improve the health and wellness of our communities.”

As the two largest health systems in Pierce County, CHI Franciscan and MultiCare formed an important joint venture in 2014 called the Alliance for South Sound Health to build and operate the new behavioral health hospital that addresses the critical need for mental health services in the state of Washington. In January 2016, the Washington State Department of Health approved CHI Franciscan and MultiCare’s application to build and operate a behavioral health hospital. The two organizations filed a Certificate of Need Application with the Washington State Department of Health in December 2014.

“This new hospital will help lay the groundwork for addressing the shortage of mental health services in Pierce County and Washington state,” said Bill Robertson, president and CEO of MultiCare Health System. “Together, we are partnering to meet the vital need in our community for more inpatient psychiatric beds. By bringing a behavioral health hospital to Pierce County, we will expand the continuum of care and increase access to the high-quality care we provide the communities we serve.”

The state of Washington ranks 48th 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. The new behavioral health hospital 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.

Located on the MultiCare Allenmore Hospital campus at 19th Street and S. Union Avenue in Tacoma, the new hospital will create over 40 construction jobs and 300 hospital jobs. Construction is anticipated to be complete in 2018.

CHI Franciscan and MultiCare have successfully collaborated in the past to provide local health care solutions for the community, including: jointly operating a trauma services program and joint ownership of the Carol Milgard Breast Center in Tacoma, which is managed by TRA Medical Imaging.

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