Pine Rest Expansion Gets Local OK

June 23, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — A proposal to add capacity to adult psychiatric beds at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services gained a key endorsement last week.

The Alliance for Health’s evaluation board sent the application on to the Michigan Department of Community Health after approving it. A similar request from Forest View Psychiatric Hospital in Grand Rapids is scheduled for an August review.

The beds are part of a joint program between Saint Mary’s Health Care and Pine Rest, created 10 years ago to maintain access to mental health care for Medicaid recipients. Faced with turning away as many as 1,000 adults per year because of demand, the two faith-based health care organizations have proposed adding 24 beds to the 86 now available for inpatient and partial hospitalization for adults ages 18 to 64.

Pine Rest COO Bob Nykamp said an addition would be constructed at the Cutlerville campus to accommodate the beds, which would all be private. Saint Mary’s, which contracts with Pine Rest to provide the psychiatric services, would lease the space from Pine Rest.

According to the CON application, the 17,700-square-foot addition would cost $4.6 million.

Additional beds are allowed under a recent change to Certificate of Need regulations, which allows expansion if occupancy rates are at least 80 percent for 24 months in a row.

Forest View is proposing a 10,908-square-foot, $3.2 million addition for a total of 18 new private beds for adults. That would bring the facility to 58 beds for adults, with adolescent beds remaining at 22. The new section would include two “shelled” spots for future expansion, for which it also has requested CON approval under a separate regulation.

Forest View is owned by Universal Health Service Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, publicly traded Fortune 500 company with 145 health and human services facilities in the U.S. Two are in Michigan: Forest View and Turning Point Youth Center in St. Johns.

Emily Quinn-Nausadis, director of community relations for Forest View, said that like Pine Rest, it also turns away adults because of capacity issues.

“We serve people who are from out of the county. We’ve got specialty programs and get individuals from out of state,” she said. Forest View’s proposal reflects not only services to local residents, but for its programs for trauma and eating disorders.

Network 180 Executive Director Paul Ippel said the 44 new beds proposed by Forest View and Pine Rest are simply too many. Network 180 is a mental health organization that provides emergency psychiatric services and contracts with other agencies for longer term services.

“We do believe there needs to be additional psychiatric beds in our community,” Ippel said, adding that the agency has been forced to place emergency patients outside of Kent County because of crowded conditions at the two hospitals. “We believe if there are 10 additional beds in the community, our needs would be able to be addressed.”

Both hospitals have become “destination points for psychiatric services around the state,” Ippel said. While that’s good for Forest View and Pine Rest, Ippel said that the closer psychiatric hospital services are available to a patient, the better.

“Let’s not over-bed our psychiatric facilities,” Ippel said. “In my conversation with other folks, there’s general agreement that 44 beds are not what is needed.” 

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