Providence seeks to build $25 million psychiatric facility

Posted: Monday, January 28, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Providence Alaska Medical Center wants to build a $25 million, 60-bed psychiatric facility in Anchorage, and has asked the state for approval to go ahead with the project.

The project, which could be completed in 2004, would be geared toward serving children 12 and younger, said Susan Humphrey-Barnett, assistant administrator.

Providence is certified by the state for 345 patient beds. The new certification would increase that total to 405 beds.

The new facility would be built off campus. That would allow Providence to convert its existing 27 mental health services beds to medical/surgical beds, thereby decreasing the need to divert some emergency patients to other facilities when rooms aren't available, Humphrey-Barnett told the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Planning for the facility began several years ago. Last summer, Providence submitted to the state a certificate of need application.

As part of the planning process, Providence officials have selected six possible sites near the Anchorage campus, Humphrey-Barnett said.

Further planning, including site selection and design, could begin after hospital officials receive approval from the state, she said. That decision is expected by mid-February.

Although the facility, if approved, would be certified for 60 beds, Providence may choose to start with fewer beds and eventually expand, said hospital spokeswoman Karina Jennings.

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