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Providence St. Peter Hospital proposes psychiatric hospital partnership

June 1, 2016

Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Wash., and Fairfax Behavioral Health are seeking to develop an 85-bed freestanding psychiatric hospital in Thurston County, the county where Providence St. Peter Hospital is located.

The organizations submitted a joint letter of intent with the Washington State Department of Health on April 22; as Catholic Health World went to press, they anticipated filing a certificate of need application toward the end of May.

The partnership is expected to improve and expand access to behavioral health services in Southwest Washington. Chris Thomas, senior manager of communication for Providence's Southwest Washington region, said the plan is to start with inpatient services and expand to outpatient services. He said Providence St. Peter Hospital has a crisis services department in its emergency department, so it's unclear if the proposed hospital would need an emergency room for psychiatric emergencies.

Additional details, such as where the hospital will be located in Thurston County and its ownership structure are not yet available, because it's so early in the process for the proposed hospital project, Thomas said.

Providence says more than 10 percent of the patients who come to the Providence St. Peter Hospital emergency department need behavioral health services. That's approximately 22 patients a day in need of such services.

Demand is expected to increase. Currently, the ratio of the overall population in Thurston County to mental health providers is 520:1, compared to 380:1 in Washington state.

For-profit Fairfax Behavioral Health says it is the largest provider of inpatient psychiatric services in the Pacific Northwest, with a total of 221 psychiatric and substance abuse beds. Providence and Fairfax have partnerships in Everett and Spokane, Wash., the organizations said. Fairfax provides behavioral health services within Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. A freestanding psychiatric hospital is planned on the campus of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital in Spokane, Thomas said. He said Fairfax's values and charity care policies align with those of Providence.

Providence Health & Services in Southwest Washington serves patients from five counties: Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor and Pacific. It includes Providence St. Peter Hospital, a 390-bed teaching hospital; Providence Centralia Hospital, a 128-bed hospital, and Providence Medical Group, which includes more than 200 specialized providers and operates 27 clinics.

 

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