Construction will begin this summer on a new Houston psychiatric facility that offers 240 beds as well as internal and external courtyards, visual and physical access to the outdoors, a therapy mall and other features designed to reduce agitation in patients and encourage healing.
The UTHealth Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health is a joint project, owned by Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) and operated by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Slated to open at the end of 2021, the facility will be the first public mental health hospital built in Houston in more than three decades. Once complete, it will be the largest behavioral health academic center in the nation.
A major focus of the new facility, designed by architectural firm Perkins+Will, is reducing rapid readmissions and providing more comprehensive care for patients with four or more hospital stays each year.
“This is the beginning of a sizable investment in the mental health of Texans,” said Mike Maples, the HHS deputy executive commissioner for the health and specialty care system, during a formal announcement Friday that drew media, UTHealth employees and state officials.
The facility will be built with $125 million in state funds approved by the 2017 Legislative Budget Board as part of a broader initiative to improve behavioral health access across the state.
The design for the new hospital features two buildings connected by a bridge and loaded with natural light and communal spaces. The campus, which includes the new hospital and UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC), will be built adjacent to HCPC, off South MacGregor Way, in an area now being used as a parking lot.
“The reason we’re referring to this as the Continuum of Care Campus for Behavioral Health is that that’s what we’re hoping to actually create once this is finished,” said Stephen Glazier, COO of UTHealth HCPC, who will also oversee the new hospital. “We have a lot of funding for acute care beds. And we have a lot of funding for outpatient therapy and case management. But there’s an array of services between those that are really important for patients that have just not been funded over the years and they’ve kind of disappeared. That gap in services causes us to get less than better outcomes with our patients than we know we can get and we would like to get. This building will be the start of filling in that gap.”
UTHealth President Giuseppe Colasurdo, M.D., compared the statewide commitment to improving mental health to the devotion to finding treatments and cures for cancer that helped launch The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1941.
“Now it’s time for mental health, for behavioral health, to take … support from the legislative session, from the community, and develop a target to treat and cure millions and millions of patients who nobody knows how to deal with today,” Colasurdo said. “It’s our responsibility collectively to look at the history of MD Anderson and make it happen here.”
“Veterans might be eligible for things they had no idea they were eligible for, no matter what age,” says Kim, an Army National Guard Veteran. She urges Veterans to take advantage of their VA benefits.#ExploreVA health care: https://t.co/0NWKCkAgpl#WomensHistoryMonth
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After delaying her colonoscopy, 66-year-old Brenda’s screening revealed shocking news—she had cancer. Read her story: https://t.co/EVuApzmgPK
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“We’re working on ways to improve the function of the blood vessels so we can get chemotherapy to the places that need it most – the tumors,” says Dr. Keri Schadler, whose research is exploring how exercise can help get chemotherapy into solid tumors more efficiently, leading our patients toward better outcomes. #endcancer
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After delaying her colonoscopy, 66-year-old Brenda’s screening revealed shocking news—she had cancer. Read her story: http://spr.ly/6187EZ2YN
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Audie Murphy. By the end of World War II, he became one of the most decorated soldiers in the United States Army.Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, 16-year-old Audie Murphy attempted to enlist with the United States Marine Corps. After being turned down from the Marines for being too short, Audie successfully managed to enlist with the United States Army. He then received basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas and advanced infantry training at Fort Meade, Maryland.Audie began his combat tour in the Mediterranean theater with B Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division under Major General Lucian Truscott. There, he participated in the assault on Arzew, Algeria, the Allied assaults on Sicily, and the invasions of mainland Italy.After the Allied victory over Italy, Audie and the 15th Infantry Regiment joined the Allied push through France. On Jan. 26, 1945, near the village of Holtzwihr in eastern France, Audie’s forward positions came under fierce attack by German forces. Against the onslaught of six Panzer tanks and 250 infantrymen, Audie ordered his men to fall back to better their defenses. Alone, he mounted an abandoned burning tank destroyer and, with a single machine gun, contested the enemy's advance. Wounded in the leg during the heavy fire, Audie remained there for nearly an hour, repelling the attack of German soldiers on three sides and single-handedly killing 50 of them. His courageous performance stalled the German advance and allowed him to lead his men in the counterattack which ultimately drove the enemy from Holtzwihr. For this he was awarded the Medal of Honor.Following the war, Audie had a 21-year acting career, including his performance in the 1955 autobiographical film, To Hell and Back. Throughout his life, Audie struggled with what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by his experiences in Europe. Audie died in 1971 in a plane crash near Catawba, Virginia. He is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.Today, on National Medal of Honor Day, we honor his service.