Coachella Valley Behavioral Health, a new in-patient psychiatric hospital, will soon open its doors in Indio and will be the only free-standing, in-patient mental health facility serving the Coachella Valley.
CEO Scott Hullinger provided an initial description of the 80-bed hospital and its services during Tuesday’s Desert Healthcare District board meeting. The facility is expected to open in January, but no specific date was given at the meeting.
Coachella Valley Behavioral Health will be located at 81-555 JFK Court in Indio, near JFK Memorial Hospital, and will be open 24/7.
What is Coachella Valley Behavioral Health?
The city of Indio approved the development of 7.71 acres of vacant land to become a freestanding behavioral health hospital in February 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed construction, Hullinger said.
The single-story, 75,000-square-foot hospital will provide 80 inpatient beds, divided into four patient care units:
- 20 beds for adults with mood disorders/substance use challenges
- 20 beds for adults with thought disorders (people with chronic mental health needs, may have previously been in and out of hospitals)
- 20 beds for older adults/geriatrics with additional comorbid challenges (as the hospital grows, older patients with more serious medical needs will be admitted, i.e. those with feeding tubes)
- 20 beds for teens aged 13-17
The units are co-ed, but the rooms are not. The rooms are semi-private for security reasons, but can be private if needed. Additional isolation rooms are available if patients are ill.
The hospital plans to employ approximately 275 employees. Patients will have a number of specialists on hand to help them, depending on their needs, including psychiatrists, therapists, counselors, registered nurses and other behavioral health specialists.
Being a new facility and the only one of its kind in the valley, Hullinger said its opening will be slow.
“This is not one of those situations where you turn on the lights, say we’re open and you fill a hospital. We won’t do that,” Hullinger said. “We’ll start with a very small group of patients, and we’ll maintain that smallness for the first few months until we’re satisfied that everything is working exactly the way we want it to, and the staff are trained exactly the way we want them to be trained.”
Hullinger also announced that an additional 48 beds would be added to the back of the hospital after the initial period. Those additional beds could be used to serve special populations, he said, such as increasing detox services and substance use services, or admitting children 12 and younger.
The hospital is owned by Acadia Healthcare, headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee, and was founded in January 2005. According to its website, Acadia is a self-proclaimed leading provider of behavioral health care services across the United States and operates a network of 253. Behavioral health care facilities with approximately 11,100 beds in 39 states and Puerto Rico. The centers serve approximately 70,000 patients daily.
What services are available?
Social workers, counselors, activity therapists and nurses will work with patients every day in a group setting, Hullinger said, where they can learn different skills and discuss the challenges they face.
Contracted internal medicine services will also be available to care for patients’ needs beyond their behavioral health. Other contracted services include psychotherapy, psychological testing, laboratories, X-rays and various consulting relationships as needed.
Detox services are available at the hospital, Hullinger said, but it is not a long-term substance disorder treatment facility. If a patient requires a longer program, Coachella Valley Behavioral Health will transfer them after they have safely detoxed from opiates, alcohol or other substances.
In the future, services will continue to expand to include outpatient services, including a partial hospitalization program (a person comes in for five hours, five days a week, available to adults and adolescents), an intensive out Inpatient programs (a person comes in for three hours three days a week) and electroconvulsive therapy (passes a small amount of electricity through the brain to trigger a brief, painless seizure; this is for patients who who have treatment-resistance problems, primarily in older adults).
Hullinger said any patient who leaves the hospital will have a discharge plan established.
Is insurance accepted?
Hullinger said all insurance is accepted, including medical.
Do I need a referral?
There are several ways a person can reach Coachella Valley Behavioral Health.
Hullinger estimates that most patients will be referred to the facility after an emergency room visit due to psychological distress. Once emergency room staff identify that someone is struggling with a mental health issue, they will be referred and transferred to the Indio facility.
Doctors or specialists can also refer their patients to the hospital. People can also bring themselves or a loved one to the facility. Hullinger said no appointment was needed.
Once a person arrives at the facility, they will be registered and assessed to determine the best level of care, whether within the hospital or if they need referrals to other services in the area.
The hospital will primarily serve the Coachella Valley, but it will accept patients from throughout California.
“The bed shortage on a daily basis for behavioral health and mental health needs in Riverside County is over 1,200 beds. So, while I am very proud and couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity, we are 80 beds short and right now There’s also a long way to go,” Hullinger said. “Patients who are in emergency rooms across the state of California are looking for a bed that they can get to take care of that person, so we will definitely move patients out to the (area).”
How do I contact Coachella Valley Behavioral Health?
When the facility opens, people can call 844-669-0161 for more information about services and other questions. An email can also be sent to www.coachellavalleybehavioral.com/about/contact/
Emma Sasic covers entertainment and health in the Coachella Valley. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ema_sasic.
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