Rendering of Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital (Image: ushealthvest.com)

Smokey Point psychiatric hospital set to open in spring

SMOKEY POINT — A psychiatric hospital with the capacity to treat up to 115 patients is scheduled to open in the spring, said Richard Kresch, president and chief executive of US HealthVest. It will include Snohomish County’s first in-patient psychiatric unit for youth.

Initial site work already has begun for the $22 million building, which will be called Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital. The 72,000-square-foot, two-story structure is being built at 3955 156th St.

The hospital will open in stages, but when fully functioning will have a staff of about 200 employees, including seven psychiatrists, Kresch said.

Plans for a psychiatric hospital in north Snohomish County were first announced in 2013. Letters of support were written by a variety of local people and organizations, including the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Snohomish County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Senior Services of Snohomish County, and the mayors of Marysville and Arlington.

Initial plans called for the hospital to be able to treat up to 75 patients. But the company received permission from the state to expand its capacity to 115 beds. Patients typically will be treated for about eight to 10 days, Kresch said.

The hospital expects to have specialized programs for women and veterans as part of its adult services, he said. Older adults with mental health problems also will be eligible for treatment there.

Details on pediatric services for children ages 5 to 17 will be announced after talking further with the community and closer to the hospital’s opening, Kresch said. The unit will treat up to 25 youths at one time.

The hospital also will offer intensive out-patient services, day-long programs with services provided by community therapists and counselors, he said.

Kresch said the hospital hopes to be able to develop culturally relevant services “that would fit well with all local tribes.”

In-patient services for adults are currently offered at three sites in Snohomish County. Fairfax Behavioral Health has 30 beds at the Pacific Campus of Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, as well as a 34-bed unit predominately for adults 55 and older at EvergreenHealth Monroe. Swedish Edmonds operates a 23-bed unit on its campus.

In-patient pediatric psychiatric services are available at Seattle Children’s Hospital, which can treat up to 41 children from 3 to 18; and at a unit at Fairfax’s hospital in Kirkland, which can treat 23 youths.

Nearly everyone knows someone who has been in need of in-patient psychiatric services, Kresch said. When it happens, “it’s an emergency situation that needs to be addressed right away,” he said.

Children and adults who need in-patient psychiatric care often are left stranded in emergency rooms due to the shortage of psychiatric beds, he said.

The Snohomish County hospital will help reduce the number of patients who have to travel long distances to get psychiatric treatment, Kresch said. “It will be a huge help in that it will make what is already needed more accessible.”

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

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