Carolinas HealthCare System has won state Certificate of Need (CON) approval for a new 66-bed behavioral health hospital, which will be built off Hwy. 115 in Huntersville.
“We are very pleased with the state’s endorsement of the need for this new hospital,” said CHS Executive Vice President Russ Guerin.
“The development of this new hospital moves us closer to addressing a critical need in our community for more resources to serve behavioral health patients. We are eager to start construction quickly and have this new hospital open to serve patients.”
The new facility, CHS Behavioral Health Center, will include about 71,700 square feet of new construction in a single-story building on property owned by CHS. It will feature all private rooms and will have about 155 full-time employees. It will be adjacent to Huntersville Oaks skilled nursing facility, which is easily accessible off I-77 and I-485. Estimated cost is $33 million.
The new facility will serve a broad range of patients who suffer from chronic mental health disorders or have more acute, episodic needs such as psychotic, mood or anxiety disorders. It also will offer outpatient behavioral health services in a separate, dedicated building specifically designed for outpatient care and therapy.
As noted in the CON application, the 66 beds will be a transfer of inpatient psychiatric beds from Broughton Hospital in Morganton (Burke County). Transfers of psychiatric beds are happening at other sites around the state pursuant to a state policy encouraging the transfer of beds from state psychiatric hospitals to community facilities.
The State of North Carolina began down-sizing state psychiatric hospitals following the passage of the Mental Health Reform Act of 2001. To date, about half of the state-operated hospital beds have closed. There are not enough psychiatric beds to accommodate the needs in Mecklenburg County, which results in some patients being held in observation in hospital emergency departments or acute care beds while waiting for placement.