Saying everyone in the community will benefit from the opening of a state-of-the art hospital, Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli welcomed executives, administrators, healthcare professionals, elected officials, staff personnel and residents at the grand opening of SANA Behavioral Hospital during afternoon ceremonies on Dec. 9.
The parking lot was crowded as visitors toured the 15,378-square-foot, one-story, recently constructed medical facility, estimated to cost between $9 million and $10 million.
SANA Hospital Administrator Pamela K. Pierce introduced Kirk Olsen, principal and owner of ERH Healthcare, a Salt Lake City-based hospital development company that manages SANA hospitals.
Olsen said the decision to build SANA in Prescott was based on extensive research about medical needs of the broader community.
Pierce told the crowd that official occupancy will begin when the Arizona Department of Health Services Medical Licensing unit surveys the hospital and licenses it as a “Specialty Hospital in Geriatric Psychiatry.” That was expected to occur at the end of December, she said.
The hospital will focus on providing acute integrated in-patient psychiatric and medical care to adults age 65 and above on Medicare, and 55 and above with additional contractors as they add SANA to the provider networks.
In an exclusive interview with Quad Cities Business News, Pierce, a highly credentialed behavioral health leader with more than 30 years of experience, described the 24-bed hospital with 14 bedrooms as a privately held facility. “Our hospital will provide a healing environment where patients feel safe and well-cared for. We will provide care that equally addresses a person’s emotional and physical well-being. To do this, we have a team of dedicated and experienced health care professionals who have a commitment to quality care in serving the local community,” she said.
Pierce explained that primary emphasis will be on adults with Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans. She noted that SANA also will pursue contracts such as Tricare to provide services for veterans.
Particular focus will be directed toward care for patients with mental disorders that cause major disabilities in social, interpersonal, occupational and or educational functions that lead to dangerous or life-threatening situations. Such conditions can be addressed only within an acute in-patient setting, she explained.
“We will provide medically appropriate services to our patients who may need 24/7 oxygen, C-Paps or other medical care within our scope of service.” SANA also will have linkages with Yavapai Regional Medical Center to provide specialty services it does not have.
“I want to emphasize we will work with all patients to be certain they get the care they need, either with our hospital or with another hospital that accepts their insurance plan. I see SANA as valued added, not competition, in the medical community,” said Pierce.
The hospital will include a large patient activity area. It also will have several group rooms for educational and behavioral treatment experiences for patients, family members and caregivers, Pierce said. Meals will be catered.
Professional Staff Will Number More Than 60
Pierce will be the lead SANA administrator. She introduced psychiatrist Dr. Omar Ruiloba and Dr. Elizabeth Caspian as co-medical directors.
Longtime local Prescott physician Dr. Sam Downey has accepted the position of associate medical director. “We have needed a hospital like this for a long, long time,” said Downey. “SANA will fill a major health need in our community. The professionals in this hospital will serve a serious community need.”
Among other professionals introduced were Director of Nursing Kim Kreiner; Director of Social Services Mary Ellen Hays, LCSW; Administrative Chief Sherlyne Hall; Quality Management Director Lynn Levine, Ph.D.; and Registered Pharmacist Paul Smith.
Other employees will include full-time and part-time positions in nursing, health service patient care technicians, pharmacy staff and housekeeping and janitorial personnel.
A History of Hospital Management
While the SANA hospital in Prescott is the first of the chain in Arizona, another is scheduled to open in Gilbert in late 2020. The Prescott hospital is being cited as a model for others. The organization has a history of owning, leasing and managing rural and medium size hospitals in several states.
Ryan Eggleston, another partner in the management company, commented that while the new building was in every sense “medically state-of-the-art,” it is what goes on within the walls of the building that makes the real difference for patients. He added that small and rural hospitals require a complex blend of strategic, operational and financial expectations to be successful. Eggleston has more than a decade of executive hospital leadership with hospitals in the western United States.
SANA Behavioral Hospital is located at 181 Whipple. For more about information, visit sanabehavioralhospital.com. QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN