In a move that should ease the overburdening of inpatient beds across the state, central Massachusetts will soon see the opening of a new 108-bed mental health facility. Health Partners New England (HPNE), a behavioral health care management and psychiatric services provider based in Boston, plans to open TaraVista Behavioral Health Center in Devens this fall.
The company, under the direction of CEO Michael P. Krupa, Ed.D., provides long term management of departments of psychiatry as well as consultation for mental health services and interim leadership staffing. This hospital will be a new endeavor for HPNE.
“There continue to be extremely long wait times throughout Massachusetts for inpatient beds. The average wait is 17 hours and longer as you move outside of 128 and 495. Central Mass. has the fewest number of beds per 100,000 people,” said Krupa, a licensed psychologist who had held CEO and COO positions for health care institutions and held an appointment at Harvard Medical School as a clinical supervisor of psychology and psychiatry trainees for 10 years.
He started at HPNE 18 years ago.
Plans for the new hospital began, said Krupa, with the premise of building around the needs of the client.
“The first piece is patient-centered care,” he explained. “Start with bare ground and then organize everything around the patient.”
The team worked with clients and families to understand the structural design that would work best from their point of view. As a result, the lobby will feature a fireplace and sitting area with a reading library for families and patients close by.
Patients will enjoy views of the countryside or a courtyard from each room. Social rooms with large aquariums will be installed in each unit.
The next step was to bring in professionals to run the programs. In studying successful business models, the HPNE staff gathered ideas to attract and retain high quality staff. Taking keys from businesses like Whole Foods, Zappos and Southwest Airlines, they began to draw up a staffing plan that will support and reward a high level of professionalism from everyone who works at the hospital.
“First we need to select the most energetic and compassionate people but also work to support them, to create a culture where everyone feels valued and has a voice at the table, an alignment,” said Krupa. “We researched widely and borrowed widely.”
The main concern, Krupa added, is the availability of high-level staff in the region. Recruiting should be helped by the company’s plan to offer “gain-sharing” for every employee in the building based on quality indicators and pre-set metrics.
“From the receptionist and environmental services people to dietary workers, RNs, doctors, up to the CMO,” said Krupa, “everyone will participate in gain-sharing.”
Barring delays, staffing should be finalized by late September and the hospital will open in mid-October.
By Catherine Robertson Souter