published Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Parkridge Health System consolidating care for psychiatric patients

A sign at the entrance to Cumberland Hall. Cumberland Hall, which was closed down two years ago due to mold concerns, is being considered for reopening.
A sign at the entrance to Cumberland Hall. Cumberland Hall, which was closed down two years ago due to mold concerns, is being considered for reopening.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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What's changing:

• Parkridge Valley Hospital -- 2200 Morris Hill Road -- Addition of 16 child psychiatric beds to the 68 beds on location, and the removal of 48 adult psychiatric beds. All psychiatric child patients will be treated at this site.

• Parkridge Medical Center -- 2333 McCallie Avenue -- The removal of 25 adult geriatric psychiatric beds to Cumberland Hall, and the conversion of the beds to acute medical-surgical beds. No psychiatric patients will be housed at this site.

• Cumberland Hall -- 7351 Standifer Gap Road -- Addition of 48 adult psychiatric beds from Parkridge Valley Hospital, and the addition of 16 adult geriatric beds from Parkridge Medical Center. Only adult psychiatric patients will be treated at this site.

Source: Parkridge Health System

Parkridge Health System has been cleared by regulators to reshuffle its psychiatric services and reopen the mothballed Cumberland Hall psychiatric hospital.

Parkridge, which is owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, will add beds for children but cut the total number of adult psychiatric beds.

The $7.7 million project will consolidate adult psychiatric patients at the 64-bed former Cumberland Hall facility in East Brainerd, while youth patients will remain at the existing Parkridge Valley campus on Morris Hill Road.

The extra space will relieve overcrowding and allow the hospital to expand its services, said Brennan Francois, CEO of Parkridge Valley.

Patients need more freedom to interact, he said.

"They need to be able to ride their bikes, they need to be able to take walks on campus," Francois said. "That social activity piece, it's like the lab practice of what you need to make it in the community."

Following the transfer of psychiatric patients to satellite locations, the main Parkridge facility on McCallie Avenue will focus on standard general hospital services, Parkridge wrote in a state filing.

The renovations to the three facilities will take between six and nine months, and an open house is planned for the first quarter of 2013, according to a news release.

Cumberland Hall has been closed since its former owners, Psychiatric Solutions, suddenly shut down the childcare facility in January 2010 with little public explanation.

Significant mold contamination was discovered at the site a few months later.

Parkridge made room for 16 of the facility's children, but overcrowding led hospital administrators to seek to buy and reopen the Cumberland Hall site that same year.

"We were really strapped for space over there once we got those 16 additional beds," said Jim Coleman, chief operating officer at Parkridge Medical Center.

However, a change in the building's ownership and concerns with the mold contamination delayed the move, as the facility was "not safe for habitation," Parkridge wrote in a filing with the state.

With the final hurdle cleared, State Sen. Andy Berke hopes that Parkridge can reverse the decline in the availability of treatment options for those with mental health or addiction issues.

"Many individuals have had to travel outside of our area for care," Berke said. "We are excited that Parkridge Valley is adding capacity and enabling more people to seek the behavioral health treatment they need without leaving the Chattanooga area."

Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6315.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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