Tufts Medicine Enters Joint Venture to Build 144-Bed Behavioral Health Facility

The proposed behavioral health hospital would increase access to inpatient and intensive outpatient care in the Greater Boston area.

Tufts Medicine other Acadia Healthcare have formed a joint venture to build a 144-bed behavioral health facility on the site of the former Malden Hospital in Malden, Massachusetts.

The joint venture is designed to increase access to behavioral health inpatient and intensive outpatient care in the Greater Boston area. Access to care is one of the biggest challenges in behavioral health nationwide, with mental health patients boarded in hospital emergency departments for days or weeks awaiting the availability of inpatient beds.

“There is a critical need for capacity in behavioral health in the Commonwealth. Our plans to redevelop the Malden Hospital site into a state-of-the-art behavioral health hospital will help address the constraints on access to care that our healthcare providers and ours patients and families face every day,” Michael Dandorph, president and CEO of the Burlington, Massachusetts-based health system said in a prepared statement. “We are proud of the services that MelroseWakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital have provided and these plans expand upon the legacy of high quality, compassionate care they have long delivered to patients.”

The project faces local and regulatory review. Once the new facility opens in two to three years, MelroseWakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford will consolidate their inpatient behavioral health services at the new hospital. There will be a net gain of 86 inpatient beds.

The new behavioral health hospital represents a $65 million investment and will replace the former Malden Hospital, with a smaller footprint than the existing structure. Tufts Medicine and Acadia Healthcare are both contributing to the investment. The project will create 9 acres of conservation land and open space.

The top executive of Franklin, Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare hailed the partnership with Tufts Medicine. “Acadia is extremely pleased to be partnering with a premier integrated healthcare system like Tufts Medicine, who shares in our mission and values,” Acadia Healthcare CEO Christopher Hunter said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to creating this modern, patient-centered facility that will provide life-saving services to individuals and families throughout the region. The new hospital will also be a center of excellence for teaching the next generation of clinicians and staff so we can serve the community for many years to come.”

Information about community engagement for the project is available on-line. A community meeting about the project is scheduled for July 19 at 6 pm at Malden City Hall.

Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care​ editor at HealthLeaders.

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