New Mental Health Hospital Opens in Tacoma

CHI Franciscan and MultiCare Health System joined together to open a hospital this spring to address mental health needs. Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital is a $45 million facility located on 19th Street at the MultiCare Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma.

“Our mission is to serve all those in need,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan. “The need for access to behavioral healthcare and services continues to escalate throughout our state. Together with MultiCare, we recognized our shared responsibility to help address this crisis. Wellfound will serve as a critical resource not only for patients, but for providers and first responders to better assist individuals in need of specialized care and support.”

MultiCare President and CEO Bill Robertson echoed Patel’s praise for the new facility. “We have looked forward to this day for a long time, and we know that Wellfound will have a profound and positive impact on our community by increasing rapid access to behavioral health services,” he said. “Thanks to our partnership with CHI Franciscan, we are now able to address the vital need for more inpatient psychiatric beds in our community.”

CHI Franciscan and MultiCare represent the two largest health systems in Pierce County. The two came together in 2014 in a venture called Alliance for South Sound Health with the goal of building and operating a new behavioral health hospital.

The hospital is 67,000 square feet and focuses on patient safety and high-quality care. It is designed to be a calming atmosphere, with lots of natural lighting, and has a nautical theme. 

Wellfound provides both voluntary and involuntary admissions with a focus on general adult psychiatric care for people with common psychiatric conditions such as acute depression, suicidal tendencies, self-injury, mania, psychosis, and anxiety. The facility’s professional clinicians will treat behavioral health and coexisting secondary medical or chemical dependency conditions.

“Our highly trained doctors, nurses, licensed therapists, and mental health professionals are focused on treating the whole person, taking into consideration the mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual states of well-being,” said Maureen Womack, CEO of Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital. 

Washington ranks 34 out of 50 states for abundance of mental health services. The national average for beds per 100,000 people is 26.1; Washington state averages 8.3 beds per 100,000 people. Pierce County ranks among the lowest in all of Washington’s urban counties, with just 2.8 beds per 100,000 people. The opening of Wellfound has increased the number of adult inpatient beds in the area to approximately 16.3 beds per 100,000 people.

“This is a big deal,” said U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor. “Someone battling a mental health challenge shouldn’t end up on the streets or in prison.”

The hospital is opening its beds to patients in phases, starting with eight inpatient and six crisis-stabilization beds, with more added over time. When the hospital is fully operational, it will offer 120 inpatient beds and serve approximately 5,000 patients annually.

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