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Baystate Health Opens Temporary Child/Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit

The temporary unit will address a shortage of child behavioral health services until new behavioral health hospital opens

SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS (May 3, 2021) – Addressing the critical shortage of behavioral health services for children in the region, Baystate Health opened a temporary 12-bed child/adolescent psychiatric unit on its Baystate Medical Center campus in Springfield on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

“This new unit serves as a bridge allowing us to provide inpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents over the next two years until our new Baystate-Kindred Healthcare joint venture behavioral health hospital opens with a permanent pediatric/adolescent unit. The rapid development of a new psychiatric unit for children in the hospital is a very complex project and we’re quite proud of the extraordinary efforts of all involved,” said Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Health.

Dr. Sarvet noted the health system has been collaborating with the Department of Mental Health (DMH) on how to meet the behavioral health needs of our younger population.

Due to the reduction of available pediatric behavioral health beds in the region, compounded by the increased demand for these services during the pandemic, many vulnerable children have been left without any available inpatient resources. This has resulted in alarming numbers of children waiting for days and weeks in the emergency room and on pediatric medical units.

“While the new temporary unit will be owned and operated by Baystate Health, our partners at Kindred Behavioral Health Services will be assisting us in managing its day-to-day operations and staffing the unit with nurses and mental health counselors. Child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners from the Baystate Health department of psychiatry will oversee the treatment of each patient on the unit,” said Dr. Sarvet.

“We look forward to working in partnership with Baystate Health to help address the need for high-quality inpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents in western Massachusetts,” said Rob Marsh, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Kindred Behavioral Health Services.

Support from the Western MA legislative delegation through funding in the FY21 state budget was critical in making it possible for Baystate Health to undertake the project.    

“Our legislative partners have been keenly focused on the need to expand behavioral health services in our region and are aware these beds will better serve the needs of their constituents in a setting closer to home,” said Dr. Sarvet.

Baystate Health and Kindred Behavioral Health Services’ joint venture to create a state-of-the-art behavioral health hospital in the region - for adults as well as children and adolescents – has also received unanimous support from the Holyoke City Council to purchase land on Lower Westfield Road in Holyoke for construction of the proposed hospital.

The $55 million, 150-bed facility will address the shortage of inpatient behavioral health beds in the region for adults, including geriatrics, as well as adolescents and children.

“The new temporary child/adolescent psychiatric unit is just the beginning of a welcomed partnership with Kindred Behavioral Health that will result in a much-needed expansion of psychiatric services in the region. We proudly accept our responsibility to address critical gaps in clinical resources to meet the needs of people of all ages who are struggling with psychiatric illness,” said Sarvet.

 


About Baystate Health

Baystate Health is a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system serving over 800,000 people throughout western Massachusetts. Nationally recognized as a leader in healthcare quality and safety, Baystate Health has nearly 12,000 employees and serves a diverse population of patients at its teaching hospital, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Children’s Hospital, its three community hospitals, several urban health centers, home care and hospice services,  a network of more than 80 medical practices. A leader in medical education for more than a century, Baystate Health serves as the regional campus of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the first medical school campus in western Massachusetts. For more information on Baystate Health, visit www.baystatehealth.org.

Media Contact:
Shelly Hazlett
Manager of PublicAffairs
Baystate Health
Shelly.Hazlett@baystatehealth.org

 


About Kindred Healthcare

Kindred Healthcare, LLC is the nation’s leading specialty hospital company delivering acute health services in its long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, acute rehabilitation units, and behavioral health line of business, all specializing in treating the most medically complex patients. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, and ranked as one of Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Healthcare Companies for nine years, Kindred’s mission is to help our patients reach their highest potential for health and healing with intensive medical and rehabilitative care through a compassionate patient experience. For more information, go to www.kindredhealthcare.com. You can also follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.

Media Contact:
Susan E. Moss
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Kindred Healthcare
Susan.Moss@kindred.com