HCN News & Notes

Baystate Health, Kindred Healthcare to Partner on New Behavioral-health Hospital

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health and Kindred Healthcare, LLC announced plans to form a joint venture that will build and operate a $43 million, state-of-the-art behavioral-health hospital in Western Mass.

The 120-bed facility will address the shortage of behavioral-health beds in the region, increasing patient access to Baystate Health’s specialty inpatient behavioral healthcare for adults (including geriatrics), adolescents, and children by more than 50%. Kindred will manage day-to-day operations of the hospital, and Baystate Health psychiatrists and advanced practitioners will provide care under the medical leadership of Dr. Barry Sarvet, chair of Psychiatry at Baystate Health.

The hospital will be designed specifically for behavioral-health services to foster a better healing environment for patients. The hospital will feature distinct units to meet patients’ varying treatment needs and is expected to employ more than 200 direct caregivers and ancillary staff.

“In building a state-of-the-art behavioral-health facility to serve the area’s most vulnerable patients, we recognize that such a major undertaking could not be achieved without a quality partner,” said Dr. Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health. “Kindred’s strength in building and operating specialty hospitals, coupled with Baystate’s behavioral-health clinical expertise, is the perfect fit. We are looking forward to creating an unparalleled community resource dedicated to the needs of all behavioral-health patients.”

Baystate had planned last year to partner with US HealthVest, LLC on a $30 million behavioral-health hospital, but ended that relationship in November following news reports alleging substandard care at other HealthVest facilities, and began searching for a new partner.

“Our partnership with Baystate creates a unique opportunity to expand access to high-quality behavioral-health services in Western Massachusetts,” said Rob Marsh, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Kindred Behavioral Health (KBH). “Kindred is a leader in treating medically complex and rehab-intensive patients, leveraging partnerships and innovation to enhance care. Through KBH, we are building upon our existing clinical and operational capabilities to address the unmet need for behavioral-health services.”

Baystate Health remains interested in a centrally located Holyoke location and is in discussions with the city of Holyoke regarding the potential acquisition and development of a property on Lower Westfield Road.

It is anticipated that, from the time the site is secured, it will be at least two years before the new hospital is operational, pending regulatory and other approvals. Until the new hospital is completed, Baystate will continue to operate its inpatient behavioral-health units at its community hospitals — Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Noble Hospital, and Baystate Wing Hospital. Upon completion of the new facility, those units will be closed.

Emergency-care services will continue to be provided at all Baystate Health hospitals, and the treatment of medically complex patients will continue at Baystate Medical Center in its Adult Psychiatric Treatment Unit.