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Published in Health Care

Bronson Healthcare plans to expand behavioral health capacity with new Battle Creek center

BY Wednesday, September 02, 2020 03:40pm

KALAMAZOO — Bronson Healthcare Group plans to develop a new inpatient psychiatric center in Battle Creek by 2022 that would more than double its licensed inpatient beds for behavioral health care.

The Kalamazoo health system has begun planning for an 83-bed psychiatric center on a 40-acre site at Glenn Cross Road and M-66 owned by Bronson Battle Creek Hospital.

Bronson Battle Creek’s Fieldstone Center COURTESY PHOTO

Now in its early planning stages, the development would replace Bronson Battle Creek’s existing Fieldstone Center psychiatric facility that has 39 licensed psychiatric inpatient beds.

A 2019 needs assessment for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, plus state data, found that “there is inadequate access to behavioral health services across the region due to a shortage of providers and inpatient beds,” Bronson said in announcing the project.

“Our goal is to strengthen and enhance the behavioral health services that are available in Battle Creek while delivering modern, safe, high quality care in a state-of-the-art facility with room for growth,” said Kirk Richardson, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Bronson Battle Creek. “The Fieldstone Center has served us well over the years, but it is not adaptable to renovation and expansion in a way that will meet evolving industry standards and the growing needs of our patients.”

Over the next six months, Bronson plans to seek state certificate-of-need approval to expand its licensed psychiatric beds to 83. The health system will develop the new facility through a joint venture with an unnamed partner that it will publicly identify after agreements are finalized.

“The partner would invest in and build the new facility which will have capacity for growth with approximately 100 beds,” Bronson said.

“We are very enthusiastic about this project. It is a tremendous opportunity to be a part of the solution to a significant community health need in our region,” said Nelson Karre, who chairs the Bronson Healthcare Board. “It is also a way Bronson can support economic vitality by growing jobs in Battle Creek. Behavioral health staff will quadruple from the 50 we have today at the Fieldstone Center to approximately 200 once the new facility is fully operational.”

Bronson will continue to use the existing Fieldstone Center for behavioral health care until the new facility opens in 2022. Bronson Battle Creek will use the building afterward “for other purposes.”

In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, the Fieldstone Center recorded 766 discharges and a daily average occupancy rate of 72.5 percent, according to data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Patients stayed at the Fieldstone Center for an average of 11.5 days.

Bronson also has a 10-bed geropsychiatry unit for geriatric patients at LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw that averaged a 61.6 percent daily occupancy rate in 2018 with 418 discharges and 15.2-day average length of stay.

Statewide, Michigan has 57 inpatient psychiatric facilities with 2,141 licensed beds that averaged a 71.5 percent daily occupancy rate and 62,159 discharges in 2018, according to state data.

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