Yakima Valley Memorial to close psychiatric unit

By Molly Rosbach, Yakima Herald-Republic May 21, 2012 

YAKIMA -- Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital officials announced Friday that the hospital will be phasing out its psychiatric inpatient services and shifting the patient load to a new "evaluation and treatment" facility under the umbrella of Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health.

"This is Memorial looking to its partner, Comprehensive Mental Health, saying, 'You are the expert in mental health services. It makes sense for you to be responsible for the whole array of services,' " said Memorial CEO Rick Linneweh.

Comprehensive Mental Health will build the new, 16-bed facility in the next 12 to 18 months, and is currently finalizing a property purchase on Second Avenue and Walnut Street.

Staff at Memorial will have the opportunity to move to the new facility, or find other positions within Memorial's extended network of services, the hospitals said.

Memorial will continue to provide inpatient services during the entire building process, so there won't be a gap between treatment for patients.

"We think it's an opportunity to improve services," said Comprehensive Mental Health CEO Rick Weaver. He noted that there are now 15 similar free-standing psychiatric inpatient treatment centers around the state.

Memorial has provided inpatient psychiatric services since the 1950s.

In 1972, Comprehensive Mental Health was formed to provide outpatient treatment, and has partnered with several other local organizations to step into the gap wth an array of mental health services.

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