75-bed psychiatric hospital planned for Smokey Point

A Texas-based company plans to build a 75-bed psychiatric hospital in Smokey Point that would include the county’s first inpatient psychiatric unit for children and adolescents.

The $18.8 million, 60,000-square-foot facility would be built on a 4-acre site at 15621 Smokey Point Blvd. and would have a workforce of about 200 people, said Richard Kresch, president and chief executive of US HealthVest.

If it receives approval from the state Department of Health, it could open in late 2015 or early 2016, he said.

A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct 17 at the main branch of the Everett Public Library.

Although plans for the hospital are still being developed, approximately 20 percent of its 75 beds would be set aside for children and adolescents, Kresch said.

The hospital also plans to offer programs for people with drug and alcohol problems and assist active-duty military personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder. Women’s programs would include help for those with postpartum depression. Geriatric psychiatric care would also be offered, Kresch said.

Letters of support have been written by a variety of local people and organizations, including the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Snohomish County chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, Senior Services of Snohomish County, the mayors of Marysville and Arlington, Snohomish County Council member John Koster and Everett Police Chief Kathy Atwood.

Snohomish County has a chronic shortage of inpatient beds for mental health patients, with a ratio of about 7 per 100,000 people. For comparison, King County has about 23 psychiatric beds per 100,000 people, according to data submitted to the state Department of Health by the county chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Currently, the county’s only inpatient psychiatric unit is at Swedish/Edmonds, a 23-bed facility that treats only adults.

The closest inpatient units for children and adolescents are at Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland, with 15 beds, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, with a 20-bed unit.

It’s even more important for children than adults to have families involved in the treatment of their loved one, Kresch said.

“For a person living in Whatcom County or somewhere in northern Snohomish County to have to actively participate in family therapy sessions at Children’s in Seattle can be quite a burden and hard to do,” he said. “The idea is to treat children as close to home as possible.”

Kresch was involved in a proposal to set up a similar facility in Lynnwood last year. However, those plans were put on hold when the parent company, Ascend Health Corp., was sold.

A decision on the application for the Smokey Point project could be made by Dec. 16, according to Donn Moyer, a state Department of Health spokesman.

Hearing Oct. 17

A public hearing on a proposal by US HealthVest to build a 75-bed psychiatric hospital in Smokey Point is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 17 at the Everett Public Library, 2702 Hoyt Ave.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

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