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Administrative law judge rules in favor of Mercy Health, affiliate’s plan for Kent County psychiatric facility

BY Tuesday, March 22, 2022 05:46pm

Mercy Health and a Pennsylvania operator of psychiatric hospitals could get final approval soon to build a new inpatient facility in Kent County.

The two companies said today that an administrative law judge has upheld a 2021 recommendation by Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) staff to award certificate of need approval to a Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS) affiliate for a new facility with 60 adult inpatient beds.

Dr. Matt Biersack COURTESY PHOTO

The administrative law judge’s ruling clears the way for MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel to issue a final decision within a few weeks and allow the project to proceed.

“We look forward to working with UHS to increase access to inpatient behavioral health options and to pursue the integration and alignment of medical and behavioral health care services in our region,” Dr. Matt Biersack, president of Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, said in a statement. “It’s extremely important that we prioritize solutions for individuals in crisis presenting to local hospitals, including our emergency departments and other referral sources. The new facility will be a receiving site enabling the initiation of appropriate care, faster.”

Through a joint venture formed in 2021, Mercy Health and the King of Prussia, Pa.-based Universal Health Services seek to develop a psychiatric hospital with up to 96 inpatient beds, including 60 adult beds and 24 geriatric beds that were previously approved by the state.

The law judge’s ruling rejected an appeal by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services of an MDHHS staff recommendation to award certificate of need approval to Rochester Hills-based Havenwyck Hospital Inc., the Universal Health Services affiliate. Department staff backed Havenwyck’s 60-bed, $20.5 million proposal over a competing project by Pine Rest for the psychiatric licensed inpatient beds available in Kent County.

Havenwyck Hospital received prior approval for the planned geriatric beds that involved an $8.6 million project.

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