A new facility opening in Chattanooga to assist patients suffering from mental health conditions and substance abuse is almost complete.
Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital will assist patients, including veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, children and adolescents, the elderly, who are dealing with depression, and those suffering from substance abuse, Erlanger Health System President and CEO Kevin Spiegel said.
“Psychiatric care in this community was not being adequately cared for,” he said. “And I asked myself ‘Is it really being taken care of well in the state? Is its really being taken care of well in this country?’ and I knew at that time we had to do something different.”
At full service, the hospital will include 24 beds for geriatric patients, 24 for adults, 18 for children and adolescents, and 22 for substance abuse patients, officials said.
Upon completion the facility will employ about 200 people out of the community, Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said.
The new facility will feature state-of-the-art fixtures and architecture to prevent self-harm, officials said.
In addition, patients will have access to comfortable surroundings with both private and community areas such as a cafeteria, activity rooms, a gymnasium and outdoor areas as medical specialists assist them along their journey to recovery, officials said.
“Unfortunately there aren’t facilities such as this one in Eastern Tennessee,” Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital CEO Oana Radu said. “There is a significant need for this community to have these types of services available to them so we are very excited to have a state of the art facility for those who suffer from mental illness and substance abuse.”
Acadia Healthcare will aid in the management, operation and will staff the facility.
“We are going to be committed to delivering the quality of care here that everybody in this community deserves,” Acadia Healthcare President Brent Turner said. “Our goal is when [patients] leave this facility that they will always have a good memory from their care and know that this was a redirection and change for their life going forward.”
Their $25 million investment helped to bring these much-needed services to Chattanooga, officials said.
“Erlanger executives recognized a deficit in access to care, partnered with Acadia who are experts in the field, and fought to bring these services to Chattanooga,” Erlanger Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Jennie Mahaffey said.
The two-story, 69,000-square-foot facility is located on the corner of North Holtzclaw and Citico Avenue.
The facility will take its first patient on June 18, officials said.
Initially, the hospital will provide medical services for the adult population. Other services for geriatric and pediatric populations will roll out later this year.
Savannah Bennett is a contributing writer. She currently attends UTC where she is a feature writer of the student newspaper, The University Echo. She is a double major in communications and English: creative writing. Savannah was also a participant in the Disney College Program during the fall of 2017.