I'm very happy to see this news. There is definitely a shortage of beds for psych patients here in The South. In my state, Alabama, we had an entire chain of psychiatrists' offices shut down.
Alabama Psychiatric Services had 18 offices across the state. Thousands of patients were left without doctors.
Now, in nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, a new mental health hospital is being built. It will have 88 beds. This is a joint venture with Erlanger and the Nashville-based Acadia care.
Some of the mental health professionals in the area say that they need more staff for existing beds, not new beds.
The CEO of Parkridge hospital, Darrell Moore, said:
"This is not an issue of licensed beds. It is about a shortage of behavioral health professionals — nurses, social workers and physicians."
However, Erlanger Senior Vice President Joe Winick said:
"They stay in the emergency department for days. We pay to house the patients and keep them safe, but they are not getting the health care they need."
I hope that this hospital will give more patients the care they need. People experiencing mental health emergencies don't need to go to a jail cell, which is where many of them are ending up.