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Beaumont reveals plans for new mental health hospital, services

An artist's rendering of the planned Beaumont/UHS mental health hospital.
Beaumont Health
An artist's rendering of the planned Beaumont/UHS mental health hospital.

Beaumont Health will build a new, $40 million mental health hospital in Dearborn as part of a plan to expand its mental health services.

The 150-bed facility is the centerpiece of that expansion. Set to open in 2021, Beaumont says it will double its capacity for inpatient psychiatric services and serve as a coordinating hub for mental health care across the health system.

Beaumont officials say they also plan to expand outpatient mental health programs, and add a psychiatric residency and other training opportunities in the field.

The move comes as Michigan and the nation face a severe shortage of mental health care services, with the consequences felt everywhere from emergency rooms to jails. Michigan in particular has an acute shortage of inpatient facilities for patients in psychiatric emergencies.

Beaumont President and CEO John Fox says the situation is a genuine “crisis.”

“And we think that the program we’ve put together is going to be a significant set of steps with respect to addressing that crisis here in our communities,” Fox said.

Fox said the hospital will be built with an eye toward possible future expansion.

The hospital will be a joint venture with another company, mental health services provider Universal Health Services, which will be the majority owner and manage the hospital’s day-to-day operations.

UHS is one of the country’s largest mental health providers, operating more than 200 mental health hospitals nationwide, including four in Michigan. The company has faced a U.S. Justice Department investigation for alleged fraudulent billing practices, and paid out over $24.5 million in various government penalties since 2000.

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) was on hand for the joint announcement Monday. She praised the joint effort, saying she’s heard “so many stories” from constituents about struggling to access mental health services.

Dingell said she faced the same struggle herself more than a decade ago, trying to get help for her younger sister, who struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction. But her sister was never able to get timely treatment, and eventually committed suicide by overdosing on drugs.

“We simply don’t have the facilities,” Dingell said. “We simply don’t have the providers.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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