SoutheastHEALTH, Universal Health Services Sign Partnership Agreement to Bridge the Gap for Mental Health Services in Southeast Missouri

February 28, 2019
BehavioralHealthHospitalSigningSoutheastHEALTH and Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS) are entering into a partnership to address the growing, unmet need for accessible, high-quality and advanced behavioral health services in Cape Girardeau and the surrounding communities in southeast Missouri.  SoutheastHEALTH selected UHS, one of the nation’s most respected hospital management companies, as its partner because of its behavioral health expertise and the shared vision and long-standing commitment to patient and family-centered care, strong clinical outcomes and proven track record of partnering with academic, regional networks and community-based entities. UHS will be the majority owner and will oversee the day-to-day operations and management of the new behavioral health facility.

“With the limited access to behavioral health providers in Southeast’s service area, patients in crisis commonly come to the emergency departments of acute-care hospitals, which challenges the care team’s ability to provide appropriate treatment and stabilization, post-discharge placement, and patient transportation,” said SoutheastHEALTH President and CEO Ken Bateman. “Southeast and UHS intend to provide specialized care for patients, along with investing in medical residencies, clinical training and the latest in telehealth technology to bridge the gap in access.”

The partnership strategy includes the construction of a new, free-standing 102-bed behavioral health hospital. The $33 million state-of-the-art facility will span more than 68,000 square-feet, and will significantly improve access to care for the full continuum of behavioral health programs and services.

“UHS is pleased to collaborate with SoutheastHEALTH, a premier organization, to provide critically needed behavioral health services in greater southeast Missouri,” said Universal Health Services National Director, Behavioral Health Integration Shelah Adams. “UHS continues to expand our partnerships with leading health care organizations across the country to develop behavioral health solutions to meet the unique needs of the system and community. We recognize SoutheastHEALTH shares our mission and vision to provide patients and their loved ones with compassionate, high-quality behavioral health care, services and support.”

Plans to establish the new facility were approved unanimously by a state board in May 2018. Construction will begin this summer on the hospital, which will be located on Southeast’s west campus adjacent to interstate 55 on exit 95. The facility is expected to open in fall 2020. “Aside from fulfilling the unmet need for behavioral health, the economic impact for this community is impressive. When fully operational, the hospital will employ over 180 clinicians, mental health technicians and support staff,” Bateman added.

The new facility will feature a full continuum of inpatient services across the entire patient population, including a geriatric unit, two adult care units, and a child and adolescent unit.  Specialty programs for co-occurring behavioral health and substance use issues will be offered to meet the unique needs of this patient population.  In addition, the facility will offer robust outpatient programs to address the most prevalent mental health concerns, including child, adolescent and family counseling; and treatment for depression, anxiety disorders and other common mental health issues.

“UHS brings national resources with a local focus, currently operating two other facilities in Missouri, having proudly served the community for well over 100 years,” said Universal Health Services Group Director of the Behavioral Health Division Ron Escarda.  “Our long-standing commitment to quality care and expertise in the field of behavioral health will enable us, in partnership with Southeast, to improve access to services and enhance the level of care provided to some of this region’s most vulnerable patients.”

Behavioral health care continues to be at the forefront of societal concerns among health care providers, government officials, legislators and community service organizations in Missouri and across the country.

Nearly one in 10 children between the ages of 12 and 17 in Missouri experienced a depressive episode in 2017. Despite the need for mental health services among a large portion of the population, the average wait time to see a psychiatrist is 10 to 30 days for adults in Missouri and up to six months for children and teens.  In the state of Missouri from 2008 through 2017, emergency department utilization for mental health-related disorders increased 212 percent for Medicaid managed care and 30 percent for Medicaid fee-for-service. The increase for all other payers combined was 42 percent.