State approves $6 million to begin work on new behavioral health hospital in Houston

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State officials have approved funding to begin construction of the UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health, a new hospital planned in Houston.

According to a press release issued by UTHealth on Jan. 8, the Legislative Budget Board and Gov. Greg Abbott approved $6 million for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to begin planning construction of the hospital.

UTHealth spokesperson Deborah Lake said construction is slated to begin in early 2019 and finish in fall 2021. She said UTHealth is in the final stages of hiring an architecture firm and will begin interviewing contractors soon.

The hospital—which is projected to cost $125 million—will include acute, subacute and residential treatment levels as well as 300 beds. Funding for the center is part of a $300 million package the Texas Legislature approved during the 85th legislative session to expand and repair the state’s hospital system.

The 300 beds at the new behavioral health center, combined with the 274 beds at UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, will create the largest academic behavioral health hospital in the country, according to a news release.

The new center could reduce the pressure on other hospital emergency centers in the area, as well as the Harris County Jail, which has become a significant behavioral health care provider, according to the release. UTHealth HCPC reports that it has about 45 people waiting to be admitted at all times.

The facility will be located on a tract of land—currently occupied by a parking lot—adjacent to the UTHealth HCPC at 2800 S. MacGregor Way, Houston.

Also on Jan. 8, the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute announced the institute received $20 million from Maureen and Jim Hackett—the former CEO of Anadarko Petroleum—to fund the Hackett Center for Mental Health in Houston.

This center will serve as a permanent operating program of MMHPI, but its initial primary focus will be on individuals recovering from Hurricane Harvey. The center will be located in the Texas Medical Center in downtown Houston. A timeline for construction of the facility was not provided.

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Zac Ezzone
Zac Ezzone began his career as a journalist in northeast Ohio, where he freelanced for a statewide magazine and local newspaper. In April 2017, he moved from Ohio to Texas to join Community Impact Newspaper. He works as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition where he covers issues within local school districts and Harris County.
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