State Department clears Fairview plan for new psychiatric hospital in St. Paul, but it raises concerns

Due to a shortage of inpatient beds in Minnesota, a new free-standing mental health hospital in St. Paul is in the public interest, state regulators outlined Monday.

The decision clears the way for Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services to move forward with building a $62 million facility on the site of the old Bethesda Hospital north of the Capitol.

But the Minnesota Department of Health also raised concerns about the plan due to the net loss of comprehensive services with the closure of nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital, which Fairview converted this summer into an out-of-hospital. Health center.

The new facility will not include an emergency room, which prompted earlier this year patient advocates And the Competing Hospitals to ask whether access would be limited to low-income patients with more complex care needs.

Lawmakers responded in June with legislation, which called for monitoring by state regulators to ensure the new hospital treats Medicaid patients and receives referrals from other facilities. In its decision Monday, the Health Ministry noted that ongoing scrutiny was a “key element” to finding the project in the public interest.

“Public review of this proposal shows the need for additional mental health beds in Minnesota,” state Health Commissioner Ian Malcolm said in a statement. “As we seek to address the critical shortages we face, we hope this review will highlight the need for policy makers, healthcare organizations, mental healthcare providers, employers, insurers, and patients to work on solutions that fully meet the state’s mental health needs.”

Last November, Minneapolis-based Fairview proposed a plan to demolish the Bethesda Hospital and build a new $62 million hospital in collaboration with Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare.

Minnesota has a ban preventing the construction of new hospital beds, but that state can grant exceptions after a public interest review is completed by the Department of Health. Normally, the review is a submission to a final decision by the legislature, but lawmakers chose it Turn the process over For a psychiatric hospital, give the last word to the state agency.

In its summary of findings released Monday, the Department of Health said, “There will be significant gaps in inpatient care remaining after the establishment of the facility that other providers will need to fill.

“For example, the new facility lacks an emergency department to receive patients going through a mental health crisis, and because it does not provide the full range of medical care, it will only serve a subset of mental health patients,” the department said. “In addition, the facility is set to operate under a less agile employment model than usual nationally and in the state of Minnesota.”

As part of the review, the Ministry of Health held a public meeting on June 9 and received 67 written public comments. Most comments acknowledged the need for more inpatient beds for mental health patients.

The health department said supporters acknowledge Fairview is a “trusted community partner,” and that the facility will help those struggling to find needed services.

In addition to concerns about whether the facility will serve all patients, critics have questioned the quality of care that Acadia Healthcare provides nationwide, the Health Department said, as well as whether the facility will receive referrals from other health care providers.

This is an evolving story. Check again for updates.

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