HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The construction of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital, a joint venture between Baystate Health and Lifepoint Behavioral Health, is nearing completion in Holyoke.

The state-of-the-art psychiatric facility, designed to cater to the unique needs of behavioral health patients, is scheduled to open its doors on August 15, bringing specialized care to western Massachusetts. With an investment of $72 million, the new hospital aims to address the increasing demand for inpatient behavioral healthcare in the region.

The facility will increase the capacity for adults, children, and adolescent patients by 50 percent, accommodating 150 beds, including 30 beds dedicated to longer-term care through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

Dr. Barry Sarvet, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Health, expressed excitement about the project, stating, “Hospital care for behavioral health patients requires a specialized environment of care to ensure safety, comfort, and privacy for patients, and a setting for a full range of therapeutic services to support their recovery.”

The hospital has been designed to feature ample spaces for psychotherapy, art and occupational therapy rooms, a gymnasium for physical activity, and access to outdoor spaces.

Patient safety has been a primary focus during the planning and construction process. Roy Sasenaraine, CEO of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital, emphasized, “A benefit of new construction is that patient safety and privacy has been factored into every aspect of the building, from patient rooms to the gymnasium. The new building allows us to make use of modern technology to elevate patient safety in a way retrofitting an existing unit could not.”

One of the notable features of the new facility is the provision of on-site evaluations following a provider referral. This innovative service will enable some patients to be admitted without having to visit an emergency department at a different hospital. Currently, a significant number of behavioral health patients in the area are transferred to facilities outside of western Massachusetts due to a shortage of psychiatric beds. The opening of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital aims to address this issue by providing more patients with the opportunity to receive treatment close to home.

The transition of behavioral health services from Baystate Wing Hospital, Baystate Noble Hospital, and pediatric behavioral health services from Baystate Medical Center will begin in August, gradually moving to the new Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital. The freed-up spaces will be repurposed for primary and specialty care or to meet the growing demand for inpatient medical services.

Baystate Health is working closely with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to facilitate the transition process. The affected inpatient facilities are expected to be fully transitioned by the end of the year, with partial hospitalization programs completing the move by January 2024.

The opening of Valley Springs Behavioral Health Hospital not only addresses the shortage of inpatient psychiatric services in the community but also fulfills Baystate Health’s mission of providing quality mental health care. Dr. Sarvet emphasized the importance of the partnership with Lifepoint, stating, “In developing this new hospital with our Lifepoint partners, we are continuing and enhancing our commitment to fulfilling the mental health needs of people in our region.”