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NFRMC Begins Work on Behavioral Health Center

New 20-Bed Unit Scheduled for Opening in February of 2014

Gainesville, FL – To help meet a growing community need for inpatient psychiatric hospital beds, North Florida Regional Medical Center (NFRMC) has begun work on a new Behavioral Health Center.

“We’re pleased that North Florida Regional Medical Center is able to help alleviate some of the strain placed on area inpatient psychiatric units because of a general shortage of beds,” says Mark Steinbauer, Interim Director of The Behavioral Center at NFRMC. “By increasing the number of psychiatric beds in our community, we’re part of a much-needed solution that we believe will really make a difference for a group of people with very unique needs.”

The unit will serve adult patients 18 years old and above who are in need of acute behavioral health intervention and will be located on the fourth floor of NFRMC’s North Tower. The unit will be guided by staff psychiatrists who will lead care from admission through discharge. Discharge planning will include community resource referrals.

“North Florida Regional is a full-service facility and is Gainesville’s community hospital, so this project is a natural expansion of our mission to provide care that is needed,” says Dr. Ann Weber, NFRMC Chief Medical Officer. “Building this center is the right thing to do.”

Steinbauer points to statistics that indicate Florida currently has 17 behavioral health beds per 100,000 residents. NFRMC parent company Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) sees an average of 35 to 50 behavioral health beds per 100,000 residents nationwide. Assuming only 35 beds per 100,000 residents, the primary service area for NFRMC would need well over 100 additional behavioral health beds.

HCA, already experienced in behavioral health, has indicated it will continue to grow this service line, noting that behavioral healthcare continues to hold the national spotlight with strong public awareness and understanding of the need. HCA, which has 2,431 behavioral health beds in 54 programs across the country, saw a 12.6 percent growth in behavioral admissions in 2012 over 2011. In the three-year period from 2006 to 2009, the company saw a 19 percent increase in the number of emergency department visits that involved a psychiatric diagnosis.

For the program at NFRMC, a team of physicians, nurses, therapists, architects and administrators are collaborating to create the state-of-the-art unit that will be both welcoming and attentive to the special needs of the behavioral health patient. The secure unit will take patient safety and well-being considerations into account and will be aesthetically pleasing with activity areas to encourage patients to join in programs and activities designed to foster their wellbeing.

The architect for the project is Studio+. The general contractor is Charles Perry & Partners, Inc. The project represents a total investment of $4 million. Construction began in September of 2013 and is scheduled for completion in early February of 2014.

The 20-bed unit is designed with a focus on providing a safe, therapeutic environment in which patients and their families can heal. Nurses’ stations will be positioned so that nurses can achieve maximum visual contact with patients. The layout of the unit is also designed so that patients can access needed resources with minimal walking distance. Wood grains, earth tones and artwork of natural settings are planned to create a peaceful and soothing environment.

“The Behavioral Health Center will provide the highest level of care in an environment that is warm, welcoming and focused on recovery,” Steinbauer says. “This new unit will reflect our patient-centered approach that guides all of our planning, and we are glad to be able to provide this important resource for North Central Florida.”

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