St. Elizabeth set to open $40M hospital Thursday December 28, 2017 Written by Barrett J. Brunsman Finishing touches are being put on the $40 million hospital that St. Elizabeth Healthcare and SUN Behavioral Health plan to open in February. Construction began in February 2016 on the hospital in Erlanger, which will provide mental health and addiction services to patients from throughout Greater Cincinnati. A precise date for the opening has yet to be determined, pending approval by building inspectors. Treatment for mental health issues is the No. 1 need in Northern Kentucky according to the latest community survey conducted by St. Elizabeth, said Garren Colvin, CEO of the hospital system. St. Elizabeth currently has mental health units at its main campus in Edgewood and at its Florence campus. The length of stay is typically 3 to 3.5 days, Colvin said. “Our hope is that at this new hospital the length of stay will increase because we’ll be able to … truly address the needs of each patient coming through the door,”Colvin told me during an exclusive interview. “We want to be able to address patients’ needs and treat them so they are not recycling and being readmitted two months later or however frequently. “We’ll be able to have units in this facility dedicated by area of need,” Colvin said.“You’ll have a dementia unit, a psychosis unit, a chemical dependency or substance use disorder unit, each with people trained in those disciplines. “The beauty of this facility is it can be modified,” Colvin added. “So today your substance use disorder unit might be 30 beds, but we can move it to 60 beds very quickly with the way the unit has been configured. “And we’ll provide a transition from the acute-care setting to an outpatient setting,”he said. “We’re excited for what it’s going to mean for our community, and we can’t wait for it to open.” St. Elizabeth Healthcare opened a drug and alcohol treatment outpatient center in Crestview Hills in September. The St. Elizabeth Physicians Journey Recovery Center at 351 Centre View Blvd.,which was created in conjunction with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, offers 12-step programming. It had an initial staff of 12, including a doctor who is medical director, nurse practitioners, therapists and case managers. The workforce at the center in Kenton County is expected to increase to 32 employees in the coming months. St. E hopes to replicate the recovery center in Campbell County and Boone County in the next 18 months or so, Colvin told me. That’s dependent upon being able to recruit physicians to staff the centers. The Crestview Hills recovery center is expected to work closely with the SUN Behavioral Health Hospital being built in Erlanger. SUN will refer to the St. E recovery center those patients who require medical-assisted treatment after being discharged from the hospital. The St. E center also will refer patients to the SUN hospital who might have behavioral health issues. The 197-bed hospital will include 104 patient rooms. The hospital has been designed to allow patients to make full use of the premises, including a gym, internal courtyards and dining. NK Architects of New Jersey handled the design. More than 233,000 construction man hours will have gone into the building by its completion in January, according to Danis, the construction manager. The average number of craftsmen on site during construction was 85. About 860 tons of structural steel and 4,500 cubic yards of concrete were used in the building, according to Danis, which has an office in Sycamore Township. The building also includes more than 345,00 bricks and 11 miles of wood blocking. The for-profit hospital is being built on 13 acres on Dolwick Drive off of Interstate 275. The site and landscaping cost $2 million. The building, which will encompass 157,000 square feet, cost $35 million. About $2 million of the project cost was to purchase the license to operate 57 short-term,inpatient psychiatric beds from NorthKey Community Care. In addition, St.Elizabeth will transfer 140 of its own behavioral health and chemical dependency beds to the new hospital and some St. E workers will become employees of SUN. The hospital will employ about 400 full-time people and nearly 250 of the positions will be new. SUN, which stands for Solving Unmet Needs, holds a 75 percent stake in the joint venture. St. E has a 25 percent stake. SUN Behavioral Health has hired Dr. Chris Lockey as chief executive officer of the hospital. Lockey previously was a staff psychiatrist at the Lindner Center of Hope in Mason, which is affiliated with UC Health. In addition to its flagship hospital in Edgewood, the St. E health system operates nonprofit hospitals in Fort Thomas, Florence and Williamstown as well as a Covington ambulatory center with a 24/7 emergency room, a medical center in Owenton and more than 100 primary care and specialty office locations. The system is sponsored by the Diocese of Covington.