Tufts Medicine enters joint venture to build 144-bed behavioral health facility

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The proposed behavioral health hospital would increase access to intensive inpatient and outpatient care in the Greater Boston area.

Medicine Tufts and Health Acadia formed a joint venture to build a 144-bed behavioral health facility on the site of the former Malden Hospital in Malden, Massachusetts.

The joint venture is designed to increase access to intensive inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care in the Greater Boston area. Access to care is one of the biggest behavioral health challenges nationwide, with mental health patients confined to hospital emergency departments for days or weeks awaiting the availability of hospital beds.

“There is a critical need for behavioral health capacity across the Commonwealth. Our plans to redevelopment the Malden Hospital site into a state-of-the-art behavioral health hospital will help address the healthcare access constraints that our health care providers and our patients and families face every day,” said Michael Dandorph, president and CEO of the Burlington, Mass.-based health system, in a prepared statement. “We We are proud of the services that MelroseWakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital have provided and these plans build on the legacy of high quality, compassionate care they have long provided to patients.

The project is subject to local and regulatory review. Once the new facility opens in two to three years, MelroseWakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford will consolidate their inpatient behavioral health services into the new hospital. There will be a net gain of 86 hospital beds.

The new behavioral health hospital is a $65 million investment and will replace the old Malden Hospital, with a smaller footprint than the existing structure. Both Tufts Medicine and Acadia Healthcare are contributing to the investment. The project will create 9 acres of protected land and open space.

The senior executive from Acadia Healthcare, based in Franklin, Tenn., welcomed the partnership with Tufts Medicine. “Acadia is extremely pleased to partner with a leading integrated healthcare system like Tufts Medicine, which shares our mission and values,” Acadia Healthcare CEO Christopher Hunter said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to creating this modern, patient-centered facility that will provide vital services to individuals and families across the region. The new hospital will also be a center of excellence for teaching the next generation of clinicians and staff so that we can serve the community for many years to come.”

Information on community engagement for the project is available on line. A community meeting on the project is scheduled for July 19 at 6 p.m. at Malden Town Hall.

Christopher Cheney is the Clinical Care Editor at HealthLeaders.

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