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PSYCH CARE TO EXPAND IN STATE
Record - 11/18/2017
A new psychiatric hospital will be developed in Passaic County and in-patient beds for psychiatric care will be added at general hospitals in Wayne, Paterson and Passaic, as part of a massive expansion of behavioral health services approved Friday by the Christie administration.
The 120-bed hospital for Passaic County is one of four new psychiatric hospitals approved statewide, in Passaic, Ocean, Monmouth, and Cumberland counties.
In all, the state is to add more than 800 beds over the next two years to relieve the long waits for admission and back-ups in hospital emergency departments. Gov. Chris Christie announced the initiative -- the largest expansion in 20 years -- in January.
"There is an immediate need for inpatient care so people can get the treatment they need to get better and return to their communities," Christie said in a statement. "Most people with mental illnesses don't require hospitalization and can be treated in the community, but hospital care is an essential part of the continuum of care when a patient poses a danger to himself or others."
Health-care providers have faced a steadily growing demand for behavioral health services, ranging from detox and substance-abuse treatment to care for people with eating disorders or suicidal thoughts.
That is felt most keenly in hospital emergency departments, where visits were up by 117,000 from 2014 to 2015. Of those, 54,000 were patients with behavioral health needs or substance-use disorders, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association.
The applications approved Friday will boost the number of beds for psych care by 40 percent. New Jersey law does not permit hospitals to add services or beds without state approval.
"We witness these needs firsthand," said Kevin Slavin, president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health.
The Paterson hospital --St. Joseph's University Medical Center -- currently is the only in-patient provider of psychiatric services in Passaic County. It admits 1,200 psychiatric patients a year, but turns away more than 800 because it has not had a closed unit for involuntary admissions.
The state calculated the need for additional capacity in each county, and found that Middlesex and Passaic counties had the greatest unmet need. Bergen County had more than enough beds for adults in need of psychiatric care, the state found.
To address the need in Passaic County, the acting state Commissioner of Health, Christopher Rinn, approved the addition of a new 24-bed unit at St. Mary's General Hospital in Passaic, a new 24-bed unit at St. Joseph's Wayne Medical Center, 12 additional beds for involluntary admissions at St. Joseph's Paterson hospital and the new 120-bed facility to be established by Summit Oaks Hospital.
The exact location of the proposed Summit Passaic hospital has not been identified, according to Rinn's approval letter Friday.
A spokeswoman for Summit Oaks and Universal Health Services, Inc., the investor-owned company that operates it, said she was not able to provide details on Friday afternoon.
Universal Health Services Inc. also received approval Friday to open a 120-bed psychiatric hospital in Monmouth County and to add 48 beds at its existing 84-bed hospital in Summit.
St. Mary's spokeswoman, Vanessa Warner, said the Passaic institution, owned by Prime Healthcare Services, "will now be able to help address the growing need for behavioral health services in Passaic by opening a 24-bed voluntary psychiatric unit." The county clearly had a great need for such services, she said.
Nineteen acute-care hospitals are to add or expand services. They include:
Newton Medical Center
Saint Clare's Hospital, Dover
Morristown Medical Center
RWJ University Hospital, Somerset
Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in Piscataway
Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy
University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro
Memorial Hospital of Salem County
Inspira Medical Center, Elmer, Bridgeton and Woodbury
Monmouth Medical Center
Ocean Medical Center
Bayshore Medical Center
CarePoint Health, Bayonne Medical Center
Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville