Pine Rest Expanding Adult Areas
CUTLERVILLE — Every year, as many as 1,000 adults seeking help inside the doors at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services are turned away, Vice President of Planning and COO Bob Nykamp said.
“We contract with 38 counties around the state of Michigan. A lot of the counties that continually ask us for contracts we say no to, simply because of the demand,” Nykamp said.
Now a change in state regulations may permit the 98-year-old nonprofit organization, with a campus in Cutlerville and more than 20 clinics and offices in Michigan and Iowa, to add beds and provide services to more adults.
Pine Rest and Saint Mary’s Health Care, which have a joint operating agreement, are seeking state approval to add 24 beds to the 86 beds now available for inpatient and partial hospitalization services for adults, ages 18 to 64. Nykamp said Pine Rest intends to build a $1.3 million addition to the Van Andel Center, the largest patient facility at the Cutlerville campus, to house the private beds. The project would be complete in summer 2009, he said.
“When people have to leave the community to seek services, I don’t think that’s the best way to provide care,” Nykamp said. “Secondly, there is just a huge risk to the community if people seeking care can’t get care. To be admitted to a psychiatric inpatient facility, typically they need to be of harm to themselves or others.”
An ongoing modernization project is converting some of the 86 beds already at Pine Rest into private rooms, he added. He said the trend toward private rooms, already in full steam at acute care hospitals, is just taking hold in the mental health care community.
The additional beds are allowed under a change to Certificate of Need regulations that took effect in February, said Larry Horvath, manager for CON program review for the Michigan Department of Community Health. It permits additional beds in mental health facilities with occupancy rates of at least 80 percent for 24 months in a row. Nykamp said the occupancy rate at Pine Rest is typically in the low 90 percent range.
“It’s similar to what we use in hospital bed standards,” Horvath said. “The (CON) commission is looking at two need methodologies. One is a calculation the state does: Here is what we anticipate the bed need to be. The other is facility-specific exception. That says: How are people voting with their feet.”
Horvath said Pine Rest is one of the first in the state to seek additional beds under the new regulation.
Private rooms would avoid a typical reason for refusing to admit someone: a roommate of their gender being unavailable, Nykamp said.
Saint Mary’s and Pine Rest created a joint operating agreement 10 years ago for the operation of the adult beds at the Cutlerville campus as well as 20 beds in the Psych-Med unit at Saint Mary’s downtown location. Saint Mary’s holds the license for the beds, but leases the space and the staffing for them from Pine Rest. Nykamp said this arrangement has allowed Pine Rest to continue to serve Medicaid patients. Saint Mary’s lease agreement would increase by $960,000 annually, according to the letter of intent filed with the state.