January 1st, 2013

St. Vincent Hospital relocates 13 acute beds

Saint Vincent Hospital in Massachusetts is relocating 13 adult acute psychiatric care beds to its main campus in Worcester in the spring.

The hospital is relocating the unit from the Vernon Hill psychiatric campus, which it no longer owns. The Vernon Hill facility was the site of the hospital until about a decade ago, when the current Summer Street location was built. Some hospital services remained in the old facility, which has since been sold to Worcester Academy. The old unit has 15 adult acute psychiatric beds and 13 of those will be relocated to the main campus by April, says Dennis L. Irish, vice president, Business Development & External Affairs for Vanguard Health Systems, New England Market.

“The average daily census has been 13,” Irish says. With the sale of the old building, “We recognized and acknowledged that there are some capacity issues around inpatient psychiatry, and that clearly was one of the contributing factors to our decision to effectively replace those beds,” he says.

An additional four beds are being earmarked at St. Vincent’s sister facility, Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, for central Massachusetts residents. “So any capacity issues that we might have could be served by our sister facility,” Irish says. Leonard Morse is part of MetroWest Medical Center, which, like St. Vincent, is owned and operated by Vanguard Health Systems Inc.

Irish says bringing the beds to the main campus will benefit services and quality of care.

“I think by reason of the distant and remote nature of our present psychiatric beds, that has limited our ability to treat certain patients, particularly those with dual diagnosis,” he says. “We could not admit certain patients who might require active medical care, as well. So this does broaden the range of patients we will be able to treat in that unit, and I think that will improve access to inpatient psychiatric services in the region.”

The move should also trim some costs, he says. Currently, “If we have a patient who requires any kind of procedure, we have to transfer them by ambulance,” Irish says. “So it is not a good model. So we will be addressing that issue and solving that problem.”

“We expect it will help with the morale of our employees, as well, to have them be all together on our main campus,” he says.

By Pamela Berard

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