Meeting the need for behavioral health

January 19, 2017

Fairfax Spokane renderingThere simply aren’t enough resources to meet the need for behavioral health treatment in our state, leading to overcrowding of our state psychiatric hospitals and even boarding of patients in need of mental health care in community hospitals. To serve more people, Kirkland-based Fairfax Behavioral Health, a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc., has teamed up with Providence Health & Services to create a freestanding psychiatric hospital in Spokane.

The Spokane hospital — built in conjunction with Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center — will host 100 beds, and with its Certificate of Need approved by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), the new facility is expected to open in spring 2018. The hospital will be built on the site of Providence’s old Fifth Avenue and Browne Street medical building, and upon its completion, it will increase the number of inpatient beds in Eastern Washington to 27.3 beds per 100,000 people, which is a target endorsed by the DOH. In 2014, Washington had just 8.3 inpatient beds per 100,000 people statewide, placing it 49th in the nation.

Meeting the need for behavioral health care in Eastern Washington has been especially tough, with Spokane facilities serving as a regional hub for many rural communities. About a year and a half ago, Sacred Heart could not recruit enough psychiatrists to keep up with the demand, and while it has been able to hire more psychiatrists since then, the new facility will further help fill the gap and allow caregivers to provide high-quality care to more patients. Click here read more about the coming hospital in an article in The Spokesman-Review.

WSHA recognizes the importance of increasing access to mental health services, and it is a central part of our 2017 state legislative agenda. (Tim Pfarr)


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