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Healthwatch 16: Geisinger, Acadia Healthcare partner in behavioral health facilities

A newly released report estimates that 47 million Americans struggle with mental health challenges, an increase of 4 million people from just two years before.

They don't exist yet, but two buildings will soon be built in northeastern and central Pennsylvania—free-standing inpatient behavioral health facilities in Moosic, Lackawanna County, and Danville, Montour County.

The project an $80 million joint venture between Geisinger and Acadia Healthcare, headquartered in Tennessee.

Credit: WNEP
Computer rendering

"At Geisinger here, we believe there is no health without mental health," said Dr. Justin Coffey, chair of the department of psychiatry and behavioral health.

Dr. Coffey says the partnership was formed to address what Geisinger calls an urgent need for expanded behavioral health services for both adult and pediatric patients.

And they wanted to make it more accessible, location-wise, to their service area.

"Our strategic analysis has very clearly suggested that our service regions have too few beds," said Dr. Coffey. "We went through a very organized and thoughtful process to evaluate ways to significantly expand our care for patients in a behavioral health crisis."

The result of that process was this partnership.

Doctors say that COVID-19 put a spotlight on the need for better mental health, but Dr. Coffey says work on this partnership began before the pandemic ever happened.

Each facility is expected to be 7,300 square feet with a 96-bed capacity.

"Our community, our society, is hurting right now. And Geisinger wants to do everything it can to take care of this community."

The project is expected to bring 200 new jobs to the area in the next three years.

Construction in Moosic is scheduled to begin this fall and in Danville next year.