MetroHealth to open new behavioral health facility in Cleveland Heights
The partnership will help MetroHealth address a shortage of mental health professionals as the health system expands its services.
Metro opened the $42 million facility in Cleveland’s east suburbs last October after demand for mental health services and addiction disorder treatment increased during the pandemic.
MetroHealth last fall said its new mental health hospital would be the largest investment in behavioral health in Northeast Ohio in at least 30 years.
Even with that investment, Cuyahoga County’s safety net hospital ran into trouble hiring mental health workers, a problem facing communities around the country.
The collaboration comes as the officials said mental health issues are at “crisis” levels, with many still struggling with issues stemming from isolation during the pandemic and opiate addiction.
MetroHealth’s Cleveland Heights behavioral health facility offers inpatient and outpatient treatment for conditions such as bipolar and mood disorders, depression and addiction.
MetroHealth will open a new 112-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital in Cleveland Heights later this month.
The $42 million facility located at 10 Severance Circle will provide treatment for an estimated 5,000 patients annually with mental illness, substance use disorder and other conditions, according to a hospital media release.
“We know there is an urgent need for these behavioral health services, and MetroHealth is proud to make this care available to everyone in the community,” said Dr. Akram Boutros, CEO and president of MetroHealth. “We all have a friend, a relative or a neighbor who is struggling. This investment is a testament to the fact that recovery works and people can get better.”
The first patients will be moved into the facility on Saturday, according to a hospital spokesperson. Currently, 40 beds are available, the media release said. The rest will be phased in later this year and through 2023.
The announcement comes as the number of fatal drug overdoses have continued to mount in Cuyahoga County and calls for mental health services have surged nationwide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Demand for treatment for anxiety and depression jumped across the country as a result of the pandemic, according to a 2021survey by the American Psychological Association. A majority of psychologists who treat anxiety disorders and depression reported more people were seeking treatment.
It can be difficult for some Cuyahoga County residents to find behavioral health care. The county has 220 fewer beds available for patients than are needed, according to MetroHealth's media release. Nearly half of residents who required behavioral health inpatient care received it outside of the county in 2019.
There is only one psychiatric emergency room in Cleveland, and its future is now uncertain. St. Vincent Charity Medical Center recently announced it will close its medical emergency room and inpatient services on Nov. 15 and, although, county officials have said they are looking into ways to keep the psych ER open, no one at the county or the hospital has announced plans to do so.
MetroHealth may continue to expand to provide some services being lost with the closure of St. Vincent Charity Hospital’s ER and hospital, said Beverly Lozar, executive director of behavioral hospital operations.
"We are taking a look at how we can help meet that need with the closure of St. Vincent psych [emergency department]," said Lozar. "But we’re looking for the right staff and the right program pieces. We’re hoping to work towards that in the next couple of months."
The new behavioral health facility in Cleveland Heights will be connected to an existing MetroHealth medical facility near the site of the old Severance Town Center.
The health system said the Behavioral Health Hospital will add 225 jobs and generate an estimated $350,000 in additional tax revenue for Cleveland Heights.