Plans advance for new psychiatric hospital in Bettendorf

BETTENDORF -- Developers are one step closer to building a 72-bed psychiatric hospital in Bettendorf.  That's after Iowa's Health Facilities Council gave the go-ahead to Strategic Behavioral Health's proposed facility during a nine-hour hearing on Thursday, July 20.

The decision comes after three tries, more than two years and plenty of back-and-forth between SBH, local providers and state officials.

"If there are people needing a service, we should figure out how to give them that service," said Jim Shaheen, Strategic Behavioral Health.  "That's the main piece here."

SBH plans to close on land at Tanglefoot Lane and Golden Valley Drive during the next 30 days and prepare for a year of construction.

Local hospitals, which don't plan to appeal, argue that the decision isn't best for the community.

Ken Croken, Genesis Health System, says it represents the dilemma over choosing more hospital beds or providing outpatient services and programs.

"Our arguments were not persuasive," he said.  "We'll all just move forward now in the best interests of the community."

SBH contends there's ample cases for everybody, but hospitals point to a shortage of workers.

"It's about the patients," said Dennis Duke, Robert Young Center.  "If we can partner with others in the community for the betterment of the patient, then that's the direction we'll head."

That direction points to building a new hospital that promises to collaborate with other providers.

"There are people hurting that need mental health and substance abuse treatment," Shaheen concluded.  "All we wanted to do, and we are going to do, is bring services to those people."