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Mon Feb 25, 2019, 06:59 AM

'A desperate situation': Mat-Su hospital downsizes planned mental-health facility to bring it online

‘A desperate situation’: Mat-Su hospital downsizes planned mental-health facility to bring it online faster


WASILLA — As emergency rooms from Juneau to Fairbanks grapple with a surge of patients with mental health issues, the only hospital in Mat-Su just downsized a new psychiatric unit — to get it open sooner.

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center along the Parks Highway near Wasilla originally planned a more than $19 million, 36-bed behavioral health facility connected to the emergency department. The new building slated to open in December 2020 represented the first-ever emergency mental health beds for an area the size of West Virginia with a still-growing population of more than 100,000.

Now work is starting next month on a much smaller — and less costly — $4.5 million psychiatric wing inside the hospital with 16 beds scheduled to open this summer.

It’s unclear whether the hospital will go ahead with the larger facility in the future.

Read more: https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/mat-su/2019/02/25/amid-a-mental-health-crisis-mat-su-hospital-puts-the-boroughs-first-psychiatric-unit-on-a-fast-track-with-fewer-beds-than-planned/

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