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Published in Health Care
Trinity Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. Trinity Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids. COURTESY PHOTO

$5M for new Trinity Health, Network180 crisis center part of broader state mental health funding

BY Wednesday, July 27, 2022 12:40pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s will get $5 million from the state to support their planned mental health crisis stabilization center.

Funding for the new center for people experiencing a mental health crisis and need immediate care was included in the state budget for the 2023 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1 and directs millions of dollars toward mental health care, as MiBiz previously reported.

Among the funding directed for mental health care in the budget — signed last week by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — is $30 million to establish crisis units across the state.

Network180 and Trinity Health’s Behavioral Health Crisis Center, planned in an existing medical office building at the Saint Mary’s hospital campus near downtown Grand Rapids, will open in 2023. The center, a public-private partnership between Trinity Health Saint Mary’s and Network180, will include a 24-hour, walk-in crisis stabilization unit where people in a mental health crisis can access intensive treatment.

The crisis center, first publicly announced in December, came out of a planning process that started with a consortium of care providers formed in 2019 that includes Network 180, local health systems, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, Hope Network and Forest View Hospital. 

“There has been a lot of hard work by individuals at the local, county, and state levels to bring expanded crisis services to West Michigan,” Stan Stek, who chairs the Network180 board and Kent County Board of Commissioners, said in an announcement. “The funding included in the state budget will bring positive change for those experiencing mental health or substance use crises in our communities.”

The Behavioral Health Crisis Center would provide a treatment option for individuals seeking help, a place for hospitals to refer or transfer behavioral health patients who go to an ER for help, or for police officers to transport people they encounter who need mental health care.

The crisis center is among a growing number of projects and initiatives to address the rising incidence rates of mental illness that has accelerated in the COVID-19 pandemic amid a lack of adequate capacity.

“This is a great step for our community as we start to develop a facility that will greatly improve access to much-needed behavioral health services in West Michigan,” Dr. Matt Biersack, president of Trinity Health Saint Mary’s, said in a statement.

Ongoing projects

Trinity Health Saint Mary’s and Pennsylvania-based Havenwyck Hospital Inc. plan to develop a 96-bed psychiatric hospital in southwestern Kent County after securing final state approval this year. The Southridge Behavioral Hospital, planned for a site near Trinity Health’s outpatient medical campus at 64th Street and Byron Center Avenue, is targeted to open in 2024.

In Battle Creek, Kalamazoo-based Bronson Healthcare and Acadia Healthcare Co. in Franklin, Tenn., are developing a new 96-bed psychiatric hospital. Construction began last fall on the $35 million facility planned at Glenn Cross Road and M-66 that will integrate physical and mental health care. When opened in early 2023, the new facility would provide inpatient behavioral health care for adults.

Pine Rest last week unveiled plans for a new $62 million pediatric center to address what CEO Mark Eastburg calls a “crushing need” for mental health treatment among children and adolescents. Planned under a joint operating agreement with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the 88-bed Pediatric Behavioral Health Center of Excellence on Pine Rest’s 68th Street campus in Cutlerville will include a psychiatric urgent care, a crisis stabilization unit, and specialty outpatient clinics to prevent mental health crises for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.

Just today, Pine Rest also announced the formation of a new program to address a nursing shortage.

The new Pine Rest Academy will offer $10,000 per semester, or $40,000 total, for qualifying nursing students who must commit to working at Pine Rest while attending college. Participants would then have to work at Pine Rest for two years after securing their state nursing license.

The financial support is available for students who are enrolled in nursing programs at Grand Valley State University, Calvin University, Cornerstone University or Montcalm Community College. Pine Rest may expand the program to other colleges and universities.

“At Pine Rest, we believe that the best way to develop a knowledgeable and compassionate staff is to offer support and mentorship,” Pine Rest Chief Nurse Executive Gretchen Johnson said in a statement. “The Pine Rest Academy will not only remove financial barriers for college students seeking a nursing degree, it will also provide hands-on behavioral health training and create a smoother path to employment. This model will ultimately make a big impact on patient care.”

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