Providence St. Peter Hospital and Fairfax Behavioral Health made it official Thursday, announcing their plan for a behavioral health hospital in Thurston County.
The partners have submitted a certificate of need application to the state Department of Health — a requirement when a hospital proposes a new facility or service — but they also issued a news release Thursday about the application. The Olympian has filed a public records request for the official application, but it had not arrived by Thursday.
According to the news release, the partners propose to build an 85-bed psychiatric hospital called Olympia Behavioral Health that would measure about 55,000 square feet and serve children, teens and adults. It also would serve voluntary and involuntary patients ages 5 and older.
The facility would open in early 2018, according to the news release.
Providence St. Peter Hospital will transfer as many as 20 psychiatric beds to the new hospital.
“Thousands of adults and children in Thurston County alone have a mental health condition, and more than 10 percent of the patients who come to the St. Peter emergency center (about 22 a day) need behavioral health services,” said Medrice Coluccio, chief executive of Providence in Southwest Washington, in a statement.
The partners have identified two potential sites in Lacey for the hospital. The primary site is at 7434 Betti Lane NE, north of Interstate 5 in Lacey.
“As part of the certificate of need process, we are required to identify two sites,” Providence spokesman Chris Thomas said in an email Thursday. “At this stage of the process, we don’t think it’s critical to discuss the second site.”
If all of this sounds familiar, that’s because the Providence-Fairfax proposal follows a similar proposal from a company called US HealthVest, which earlier this year submitted a certificate of need application for South Sound Behavioral Hospital, a 75-bed psychiatric facility. It, too, has pitched two possible locations in Lacey: 605 Woodland Square Loop SE, which puts it near Huntamer Park, or north of I-5 off Marvin Road.
US HealthVest President and Chief Executive Richard Kresch believes Thurston County and the area has unmet mental health needs.
The state Department of Health already conducted a public hearing on the US HealthVest proposal, and a number of Providence officials, including Coluccio, attended the hearing and criticized the HealthVest application.
Coluccio said during the May public hearing that she had “grave concerns” about US HealthVest’s “financial fragility, cash-flow challenges, lack of longevity in the communities they serve, ownership changes, poor operation-site selection, inaccuracies in its application, insufficient charity care, and admission policies and practices.”
Coluccio told The Olympian in April that she views the Olympia Behavioral Health application as a competing application.
Providence and Fairfax have worked together before on behavioral health services in Snohomish and Spokane counties. Fairfax has facilities in Kirkland, Everett and Monroe, with a total of 221 psychiatric and substance abuse beds.
US HealthVest is nearing completion of Smokey Point Behavioral Health, a 115-bed psychiatric facility in Marysville.