Daily News

Holyoke Medical Center Proposes New Behavioral Health Hospital

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center’s leadership team, recognizing the increased need for behavioral-health inpatient beds in Western Mass., has been planning for approximately one year to identify a way to address this need. This process has produced a proposal for a new, state-of-the-art, standalone inpatient facility.

In addition, in September, 2019, Holyoke Medical Center partnered with Signet Health Corp. to assist the hospital in the delivery of behavioral-health services by providing high-quality management and consulting services.

The current inpatient behavioral-health unit at Holyoke Medical Center has a capacity of 20 beds. The proposed new facility would have approximately 100 beds, including the 20 existing beds currently on the fifth floor of the main hospital building. It is designed to provide best-in-class care in a purpose-built facility specifically tailored to accommodate the needs of behavioral-health patients with all of the modern requirements, including secure outdoor space.

A letter of intent has been signed with the Leo Brown Group, a full-service healthcare real-estate development and solutions company, to design and build the facility. Holyoke Medical Center has identified a suitable location on the main hospital campus for the proposed building. In addition, the hospital will continue to work with Signet Health for management services within the proposed facility.

The conversations with appropriate stakeholders, including the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Public Health, and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, will begin shortly and will continue in the following weeks as the hospital seeks to obtain local and state approval to move forward with the project.

“Holyoke Medical Center is eager to have conversations at the state level to expand the much-needed behavioral-health bed capacity in Western Massachusetts. This proposal is fully in line with the Commonwealth’s goal to increase investment in behavioral-health services,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems.

It is estimated that, once approved, the new facility will take 18 months to complete and become operational.

For the past six years, Holyoke Medical Center has been growing and expanding services through recruitment and retention of doctors and advanced-practice providers, Hatiras noted, and the proposed project is aligned with the mission of the health system.