The Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health is just one step away from securing the $38 million needed for its new 106-bed psychiatric hospital in downtown Tulsa.
This week, the Oklahoma Legislature’s Joint Committee on Pandemic Relief Funding gave final approval to a proposal to fund additional patient capacity and expand behavioral health and internal medicine in a new hospital already underway.
It’s just one of many project proposals seeking a portion of Oklahoma’s $1.8 billion share of the $1.9 trillion federal economic stimulus bill. called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Project proposals approved by the committee will go before the full legislature in a special session, which is expected to resume in late September.
“The final step is to get approval from the Legislative Assembly and we expect the process to go smoothly,” said Dr. Crystal Hernandez, Executive Director of TCBH. “The impact of this funding is going to be monumental in how we serve people in crisis – and that’s been a long time coming. The staff are absolutely thrilled to be a part of something so monumental for this region.
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“Mental Health is health and should be treated accordingly and without stigma.
The $70 million, 137,000 square foot hospital, which will be built adjacent to the new Veterans Affairs Hospital on the west side of downtown, is also being funded by private donations and the Department of Mental Health and Oklahoma addiction services.
Construction is expected to begin next summer and the new hospital is expected to open in November 2024.
The hospital will replace the current 56-bed Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health, which is located in rented space in the former Physicians’ Hospital building at 2325 S. Harvard Ave. The Department of Mental Health has occupied it for 20 years.
Redirecting these rents and increasing patient billing revenue from 56 beds to 106 will fund additional operations for the 50 new beds.
Hernandez said the federal pandemic relief funding investment will also add internal medicine and some additional addiction treatment needs to the hospital, so mental health patients can be better served in one place. .
Other major proposals before the Legislative Assembly for final approval include:
• $87 million for a much larger replacement of the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, Griffin Memorial Hospital, located in Norman.
• $50 million for an Oklahoma Water Resources Board grant program to fund statewide water infrastructure needs.
• $44 million for information technology updates for the University Hospital Authority, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and OU Health.
• $26 million for information technology upgrades to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.