Thurston County Officials Move Forward on New Mental Health Facility Plan

US HealthVestAccording to the Washington State Department of Health, the application of a New York based company’s 75-bed mental health hospital has been approved in Thurston County. Now construction can begin once the company agrees to the state’s listed conditions.

The Washington State Department of Health review of the US HealthVest certificate of need application—paperwork required when a hospital proposes a new facility or changes to an existing facility—was completed just last week. And now the certificate of need manager, Janis Sigman, expects to hear back from the New York firm within the next two weeks.

Basically, US HealthVest—who is also building a similar facility in Marysville, WA—believes that Thurston County (and its surrounding region) does not have adequate mental health facilities. Thus, the company proposes the expense of $18.4 million to renovate an existing health facility, located at 605 Woodland Square Loop SE, in Lacey, WA. The new facility is expected to open in the fall of 2018.

And it looks like they were right; so far officials at US HealthVest say they have received approximately 100 letters of support for this new project. Of course, they have also received 45 letters of opposition, 39 of which from supporters of Providence St. Peter Hospital, who has also announced a similar intent to expand/renovate mental health facilities nearby.

According to Providence spokesman Chris Thomas, the state’s approval of this New York-based effort is disappointing. He says, “This decision right now doesn’t change our plans, and we’re confident in the long run that our unique proposal with Fairfax best meets the community’s need.”

Of course, US HealthVest will have to meet roughly a dozen conditions listed by the state. This includes a particular condition that requires the company to raise its proposed charity care spending to either meet or exceed the average amount of charity care spending provided by hospitals in this region. This is the equivalent of 3.42 percent of gross revenue (or 8.62 percent of adjusted revenue, which is total revenue minus revenue from Medicaid and Medicare).

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