The renovation of the Mt. Gretna Philhaven facility was unveiled Friday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a tour of the new inpatient floors.
The facility added 22 beds, bringing the total number of inpatient beds at the facility to 140.
According to Wellspan, the increase in beds will allow them to treat an additional 100 patients each month.
In 2019, Philhaven expanded its inpatient capacity to 15. Between the two expansions, the building’s capacity has increased by 40 percent over the past three years.
The $7 million expansion is part of the hospital network’s ongoing effort to address the growing demand for mental health services at Central PA.
Philhaven Mt. Gretna treats behavioral and mental health patients of all ages and needs, including those with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In 2022, Wellspan will see 30% more behavioral patients than the previous year.
Earlier this month, Wellspan announced it was hiring more than 200 positions this year.
Approximately 50 of these positions will be used to expand Philhaven inpatient services.
“I think overall, individuals are going through a lot of stressors. Of course, the COVID pandemic has contributed to that,” said Montha Kotsalos, vice president of inpatient services. “I think the positive side is that people are very receptive to help and that’s why we’re making sure we’re meeting those needs here.”
The expansion transformed the facility’s former outpatient area into an inpatient center with common areas and standard living facilities.
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The expansion will reduce the current wait list of more than a thousand patients and shorten the average time to a patient’s first appointment, which now takes approximately 8-12 weeks.
Nurses on the floor will work on a 5-to-1 or 6-to-1 patient-to-provider ratio, Kotsalos said.
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Wellspan plans to move its inpatient services from Philhaven closer to the Lebanon and Ephrata regions over the next year and a half, with the goal of reducing the increase in the number of behavioral health patients visiting emergency departments.
Currently, the health system sees an average of 370 behavioral health patients per month in emergency rooms and hopes to refer 200 of those patients to these outpatient facilities.
Daniel Larlham Jr. is a reporter for Lebanon Daily News.contact himDLarlham@LDNews.com or on Twitter @djlarlham