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GHS: Partnership with Acadia a benefit of new governance structure

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Officials with the Greenville Hospital System say a $64 million collaboration with Acadia Healthcare would not have been possible without the hospital’s recent change in its governance structure.

“Our public governmental not-for-profit status was really preventing us from forming partnerships with other entities, partnerships that are equivocal for our ability to meet the healthcare needs of our community,” said Spence Taylor, GHS president.

The GHS partnership with Acadia will create a new 80,000-square-foot inpatient behavioral health facility on the Greenville Memorial campus, and will replace the Marshall I. Pickens Hospital, which will be torn down. (Photo by Teresa Cutlip)The partnership will create a new 80,000-square-foot inpatient behavioral health facility on the Greenville Memorial campus, and will replace the Marshall I. Pickens Hospital, which will be torn down.

“With our newly-established governing structure, we’re able to take advantage of new opportunities that enhance quality and expand access to care,” said Mike Riordan, CEO of the Strategic Coordinating Organization for GHS.

As part of the new model, GHS remains a public entity that leases its facilities to the Upstate Affiliate Organization, a private, not-for-profit that will serve as the provider of care for the region like GHS does today. The Strategic Coordinating Organization sets the strategic direction and provides corporate support for the Upstate Affiliate Organization and any other affiliates that join the new system.

The new governance structure took effect Oct. 1.

Scheduled to open in March 2018, the yet-to-be-named new inpatient behavioral health hospital will feature 120 inpatient beds – 52 more than what is currently available at Marshall I. Pickens Hospital – and a number of services, including alcohol and substance abuse inpatient services, geropsychiatry, adolescent psychiatry, children’s residential treatment, intensive outpatient therapy and partial hospitalization.

Over the past several years, GHS has made substantial investments in its psychiatry program, including hiring more providers, expanding outpatient services, more closely coordinating care with non-psychiatric providers and establishing a residency program for psychiatry,” Riordan said during a press event. “However, as we move toward a population health-based model of care, we need to do more to ensure the health and well-being of those we serve.”

Riordan said the collaboration with Acadia Healthcare will “build on and enhance the behavioral health services our dedicated and highly-skilled staff has provided here since 1967. The joint venture will manage the day-to-day operations of the hospital and GHS will retain clinical oversight over all clinical programs.”

Franklin, Tenn.-based Acadia Healthcare operates a network of 591 behavioral healthcare facilities with approximately 17,800 beds in 39 states, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico, according to a news release.

“At Acadia our mission is to set the standards of excellence in the treatment of behavioral health and addictive services,” said Joey Jacobs, Acadia chairman and CEO. “We use evidence-based practices to make sure our patients receive the highest quality care and customer services. We are guided by our key principles to understand the needs of our patients and their families. At Acadia we have a saying – ‘improve the lives we touch today.’”

One in five people in South Carolina are affected by mental health conditions, said Ken Dority, executive director of the Greenville chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).

“Of the 4.8 million people in S.C., that’s about 960,000 people that are affected by mental health conditions,” he said. “Access to treatment is a real issue. Unfortunately our state ranks 43rd in the nation when it comes to access to mental health, so additional access through this partnership is really important to us.”

According to the release, GHS and Acadia will “work through the appropriate processes to bring the vision for more robust and comprehensive behavioral health services to life.” The next step is for the two organizations to prepare and submit a Certificate of Need application for the new hospital. Once approved, the joint venture will assume management of day-to-day operations of Marshall Pickens, including approximately 150 clinical and support staff members, and eventually operations of the new hospital. GHS will retain clinical oversight over all clinical programs at Marshal Pickens and the new hospital.

Reach Teresa Cutlip at 720-1223.

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