United States

Scripps Health Announces Plans for New, Standalone Behavioral Health Facility in Chula Vista

Scripps Health's current facility is at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego in Hillcrest

Scripps Health announced Tuesday that it will build a new behavioral health facility that will triple the number of people it can treat.

The new, standalone inpatient facility will have 120 beds, according to Scripps Health, up from its current 36 beds at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego.

“Number one is community need,” CEO and President of Scripps Health Chris Van Gorder told NBC 7. “Behavior health – it’s underfunded by the government, sadly. There’s not enough inpatient beds to take care of patients, so there’s overflow in hospital emergency rooms.”

He said Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego needs to be replaced within the next 10 years.

Additionally, the project will more than double the facility’s staff, reaching approximately 250 employees, compared to its current 93 employees, according to Scripps Health.

The development is in partnership with Acadia Healthcare, which serves hundreds of facilities across the U.S., United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico.

“The future of health care is rooted in these types of collaborations,” Van Gorder said. “Scripps is actively seeking out partners like Acadia that excel in their specialty fields and can help us address the health care needs of our communities.”

While the project cost hasn’t been estimated yet, Van Gorder said Acadia Healthcare will cover 80 percent of the funds and Scripps Health will cover 20 percent.

Other collaborations with Scripps Health include MD Anderson, Rady Children’s Hospital, and the San Ysidro Health Center.

The proposed building will take roots in eastern Chula Vista, according to Van Gorder.

The CEO and president said Acadia Healthcare escrowed a location there because, “We couldn’t find land in downtown… There is no place to build.”

During the facility’s move, Scripps Health will continue to offer behavioral health support at all of its hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers.

Acadia Healthcare said, “Mental health and behavioral health are broad terms that can encompass a wide range of issues and challenges that can have profound impacts on both the substance and quality of an individual’s life.” It referenced attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders as some of the challenges patients can face.

It described its inpatient treatment as the “most intensive level of care,” that is typically short-term and provides “psychiatric stability” with round-the-clock care. To learn more about behavioral health and its treatments, go to Acadia Healthcare’s website.

Scripps Health said it will also spend $1 million in safety upgrades to its Hillcrest space during its remaining years of service. The Hillcrest behavioral health facility will close when its updated Chula Vista counterpart opens, Van Gorder said.

This comes as part of Scripps Health’s master development plan announced in 2018 to address seismic safety regulations.

The new facility is expected to receive patients beginning in 2023.

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