A company called US HealthVest wants to open a 75-bed psychiatric hospital in Thurston County at an estimated cost of $20 million, according to information submitted to the state Department of Health.
The company reportedly is based in Texas, although it also has an office in New York City. The company’s president and chief executive, Dr. Richard Kresch, could not be reached Tuesday.
The letter of intent also starts the clock on a six-month process, which will give US HealthVest time to submit a more detailed application about the proposed hospital and its services, said Bart Eggen, executive director of the Office of Community Health Systems within the Department of Health.
“It will identify where it will be, the full breadth of services and the range of ages they plan to serve,” said Eggen about the future application.
Although the letter of intent doesn’t specify the proposed hospital location in Thurston County, it does mention that the company plans to also serve Lewis, Mason and Grays Harbor counties.
US HealthVest is familiar with Washington state because it is now building the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital, a 115-bed facility in Marysville, according to a news release on the US HealthVest website. That hospital is expected to open in early 2017.
Certificate of need documents for the Smokey Point facility shed light on the proposed services there, which might apply to the proposed hospital in Thurston County.
“Programs to be provided include adult psychiatric, military, women’s, dual diagnosis, geriatric, faith-based mental health and chemical dependency, youth/adolescent, mother-infant, and voluntary and in-voluntary for patients age 5 and older,” the certificate of need information reads.
US HealthVest says the Smokey Point hospital will serve an unmet mental health need in the Seattle area. Thurston County, too, has an unmet need, according to Sue Beall, director of Behavioral Health Services for Providence in southwest Washington.
“Since 2011, we have had a 20 percent increase in the number of individuals seeking mental health and substance abuse treatment in our emergency department at Providence St. Peter Hospital,” Beall said in an email.
“We often have individuals staying in our hospital waiting for an inpatient mental health bed, especially if they need involuntary treatment,” she said. “Our psychiatry inpatient unit has 18 beds that are consistently full.”