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SoutheastHEALTH opens behavioral health hospital in Cape Girardeau

 

Southeast
Behavioral Hospital, located at 639 S. Silver Springs Road, is a partnership
between Southeast-HEALTH and Universal Health Services (UHS). UHS is one of the
largest behavioral health providers in the United States and the United
Kingdom.

 

“Patients
will benefit from the expertise of Universal Health’s clinical team and Southeast’s
complete care continuum for residents in the communities we are humbly
serving,” SoutheastHEALTH President and CEO Ken Bateman said.

 

Bateman
said they chose UHS as a partner because of its expertise in mental health
care. He said Southeast-HEALTH has seen the need for this type of facility,
with several patients in crisis who visit their emergency departments because
they lack access to behavior health providers.

 

“At
SoutheastHEALTH, we get calls from all over the state from hospitals that are
looking to place patients,” Bateman said. “There is truly a bed shortage
throughout the state, and we get calls from even other states that are trying
to place a patient.”

 

According
to Bateman, one in 10 Missouri adults will experience a mental health illness
during his or her lifetime, but 40 percent of those adults will not be able to
receive treatment. Children are even more likely to experience mental health
issues, with almost 10 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 in
Missouri experiencing a depressive episode during the previous year.

 

“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 an adult and
up to six months for children and teens,” Bateman said.

 

The
$33 million project will house 102 beds – 60 for adults, 20 for children and 22
for seniors. Outpatient services will also be available at the facility once it
is fully operational.

 

“We are going to open
in phases,” Southeast Behavioral Hospital CEO Tim Cockrell said. “We want to
make sure that we are doing everything correctly and in a safe manner, so we
will be opening just a few beds at a time until we open up an entire unit.”

 

Cockrell said they
are currently hiring more staff members. More than 180 employees will be
employed at the facility – including clinician staff, therapists,
physiologists, psychiatrists, administrative staff, environmental services
staff and dietary professionals.

 

Gov. Mike Parson
attended the ribbon cutting, saying the facility will make a difference in the
region. He added that mental health is an issue statewide and, for many years,
people have “put mental health on the back burner.

 

“You
need a lot more facilities like this across the state of Missouri, I’ll be
honest with you,” Parson said. “This is going to be a perfect model and a way
where we can expand it. I’m excited to come back in a couple years when this
thing is totally full and operational and see what we are really doing in
people’s lives, because at the end of the day that’s what’s really important.”

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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