Editorial

New behavioral health hospital a big win for patients, region

Leadership for Cape Girardeau's behavioral health hospital, joined by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and 100 community members, gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to celebrate the opening of the new $33-million facility.

The 102-bed Southeast Behavioral Hospital is expected to admit its first patients the week of March 8.

Gov. Mike Parson, a county sheriff before becoming a lawmaker and later governor, spoke at the event of how this will make a difference in people's lives. Along with individuals and families, it should help law enforcement who are oftentimes put in the middle of mental health issues.

The hospital, a joint venture between SoutheastHEALTH and Universal Health Services, will eventually employ 180 individuals, including clinicians, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, administrative staff, environmental services personnel and dietary professionals.

The mental health numbers are astounding. SoutheastHEALTH president and CEO Ken Bateman cited a 212% increase from 2017 to 2018 of Missouri Medicaid patients seeking assistance for mental health issues. But mental health issues are not limited to the poor, and the issues can be wide ranging. This facility will treat adolescents and adults on an in-patient basis and will serve not only those in Cape Girardeau and Jackson but across the region.

Congratulations to all those involved in bringing this facility to fruition. A special congratulations to SoutheastHEALTH president and CEO Ken Bateman, whose leadership kept the project moving to where we are today. We believe this facility will make a significant difference in the lives of many.

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