Primary focus is mental illness with detox and substance use services also addressed
Healthcare professionals are being recruited
SUN Behavioral Delaware, soon to be southern Delaware’s first mental health acute hospital, is under construction in Georgetown and on schedule to open in August, 2018.
Its opening will represent the first time that Sussex County residents have a local, inpatient facility focused solely on mental health and substance abuse. Anyone in Sussex County who has dealt with mental health or substance-abuse issues knows how important it is to have a hospital nearby, especially when a loved one needs care and has to be admitted.
“Sussex County has a population of more than 200,000, is one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, and yet, has no inpatient psychiatric hospital beds,” said SUN President and CEO Steve Page.
SUN officials broke ground in November, 2016, and were flanked by several state, local, and healthcare leaders who welcome the arrival of the new hospital. The construction of the 90-bed facility is already recognizable near the intersection of routes 113 and 404 where other healthcare facilities are located. When complete, it will be two stories tall, and cover 93,000 square feet. Services will include inpatient mental health care, detoxification, and tiered outpatient services. Acute, inpatient hospitalization will be utilized to maximize patient stabilization and will include psychiatric and medical care, clinical services, group therapy, family therapy and ancillary treatment modalities. When the patient no longer needs inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services may be utilized to assist with the need for continuum of care.
CEO Steve Page said recently that SUN is in the process of recruiting healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists and social workers, to be employed or affiliated with the new facility. It will open with a team of roughly 70 clinicians and trained individuals. Eventually, it will employ over 150 people.
SUN Behavioral Delaware will offer specialty programs for adolescents, adults and seniors. Page explained that SUN clinicians will be reaching out to local nursing homes to work with them to help their older patients who have depression and other behavioral health issues.
“We have spent some time speaking with local health providers to determine the existing need for behavioral services. Our goal is to add services that complement what exists,” he said.
SUN clinicians also will be collaborating with local hospitals. While hospital emergency departments treat patients suffering from emergency and life-threatening medical issues, SUN will provide acute behavioral and detox care once the patient’s medical situation has stabilized. SUN will be open around the clock daily to provide mental health assessments and referral services. SUN will strive to contract with all third-party payors, including most private insurances as well as Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare.
SUN is a private operator of freestanding psychiatric hospitals, according to one of its investors LLR Partners. In 2016, it opened a 148-bed behavioral health hospital in Houston, Texas. It also operates a behavioral health hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and is building another in Erlanger, Kentucky, which is in the greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area.
Page, who had seven years of experience developing and operating psychiatric hospitals before establishing SUN, candidly explained that the mental health issues in our country today inspired him to be involved in establishing a behavioral health company that provides acute care, and outpatient services.
“Every one of us is touched by mental illness, and substance abuse,” he said. “One in five people in the United States have a diagnosable mental illness; so, I’m not unique in that people close to me also have been touched.”
Page was Chief Financial Officer for Ascend Health Corp before it was acquired by Universal Health Services in 2012. He has an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.
More information can be found about SUN Behavioral by visiting the website: http://www.sunbehavioral.com/
More than 40 million Americans, or 1 in 5, suffer from a mental illness, and more than half have no access to mental health care, according to Mental Health America, a nonprofit established in 1909. The nation’s opioid epidemic has exacerbated the problem. More than 33,000 people in the United States died of an overdose in 2015, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Delaware Health and Social Services estimates that so far this year 187 people have died from drug overdose in Delaware.
The National Institute for Mental Health (part of the National Institutes of Health), provides free information to the public. Information can be accessed on the website at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov
Delawareans also can learn more about mental health services in the state by contacting the Department of Health and Social Services at 800-223-9074.