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HOLYOKE — Baystate Health and Kindred Behavioral Health, a division of LifePoint Health, broke ground on March 8 in Holyoke on their new, state-of-the-art behavioral-health hospital being built to meet the community’s increased need for specialized behavioral-health services and to address the dire shortage of beds in the region.

The 150-bed, free-standing facility, to be called Baystate Behavioral Health Hospital, will be located on 45 Lower Westfield Road and will feature 120 semi-private rooms and 30 private rooms for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. The new hospital will increase patient access to Baystate Health’s specialty inpatient behavioral healthcare for adults, including geriatric patients, as well as adolescents and children, by more than 50%.

“As a psychiatrist, I have first-hand knowledge of the suffering and tragedy associated with people whose mental-health needs are not met,” said Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of Psychiatry at Baystate Health. “Upon its completion, Baystate Behavioral Health Hospital will not only improve access to care, but also offer a beautiful environment of care and new clinical programs for people in need of intensive mental-health services, where they can feel safe, comfortable, and engaged in healing relationships with members of their care team.”

Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, added that “mental health is an integral part of the overall health and well-being of the communities we serve. Baystate Health takes its mission seriously, to improve the health of the people in our communities every day. As other doors have closed in the region, we are pleased to be opening a brand-new facility dedicated to serving the behavioral-health needs of our most vulnerable population.”

The 23,230-square-foot, four-story facility is designed specifically for behavioral-health services to foster a better healing environment for patients and will feature a wide range of programs to meet patients’ varying treatment needs. The hospital will feature large activity and therapy rooms, a gym for therapy services, multiple courtyards, and outdoor recreation spaces where patients can interact with each other and their family members.

The $72 million project is estimated to take 16 months to complete, with an expected opening in August 2023. Kindred Behavioral Health, which is a wholly owned business of LifePoint Health, will manage day-to-day operations of the hospital, while Baystate Health psychiatrists and advanced practitioners will provide care under Sarvet’s medical leadership.

“This is a great day for our partnership with Baystate Health and for residents of Western Massachusetts as we take this symbolic first step to officially launch a project that will greatly improve access to much-needed behavioral-health services in this part of the state,” said Jason Zachariah, president of Integrated Solutions at LifePoint Health. “We are excited to break ground on this hospital and look forward to passionately advocating for our patients and delivering the kind of exceptional behavioral-health outcomes that lead to a healthier community.”

Until the new hospital is completed, Baystate will continue to operate its inpatient behavioral-health units at its three community hospitals, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, and Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer. Upon completion of the facility, inpatient behavioral health in these units will cease, and patient care will be transferred to the new facility.

Emergency-care services will continue to be provided at all Baystate Health hospitals, and the treatment of behavioral-health patients with medically complex conditions will continue at Baystate Medical Center in its Adult Psychiatric Treatment Unit.

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