ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare announced plans to build behavioral health hospital

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2022

GREENVILLE – On July 19, ECU Health and Acadia Healthcare announced plans to build a state-of-the-art, 144-bed behavioral health hospital in the medical district of Greenville, less than a mile from ECU Health Medical Center.

This new facility will provide North Carolinians with access to behavioral health services and treatment from specialized clinical teams in a carefully designed environment.

Slated to open in spring 2025, the hospital will be operated through a joint venture between ECU Health and Acadia, the largest standalone provider of behavioral healthcare services across the United States. Together, the organizations will invest approximately $65 million in expanding behavioral health resources in eastern North Carolina.

The hospital will include 24 inpatient beds specifically for children and adolescents with mental health needs. These beds will be the first of their kind in ECU Health’s 29-county service area and the only child and adolescent beds within 75 miles of Greenville.

“This hospital will be a tremendous resource for our patients and our state, and we’re thrilled to bring a partner and a national leader like Acadia to eastern North Carolina,” said Dr. Michael Waldrum, chief executive officer of ECU Health and dean of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. “Acadia has an established track record of providing high-quality, compassionate care in communities across the country. Together, we will strengthen our level of expertise, implement proven best practices and enhance the quality and number of behavioral health services available to patients throughout the region.”

Prior to the pandemic, nearly one in five North Carolinians were experiencing a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, according to a report from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use. In the last two years, national data indicates a growing trend of depression and anxiety symptoms. This partnership demonstrates a commitment to talking about mental health disorders, normalizing and treating them with the latest science and medicine in appropriate care settings.

“As a clinician, seeing this type of investment and understanding the significant impact it will have on patients is exciting,” said Dr. Syed A. Saeed, an ECU Health board-certified psychiatrist with more than 40 years of experience. “The needs of behavioral health patients differ from other patients and vary widely even within the same diagnosis. This state-of-the-art hospital will allow us to fully meet our patients’ unique needs in a safe, patient-centered environment and ensure clinicians have the resources and training needed to deliver excellent care.”

The new hospital will also serve as a teaching hospital, training students and residents from the Brody School of Medicine, many of whom will go on to practice in eastern North Carolina and carry forth ECU Health’s mission to improve the health and well-being of the region.

“We are always seeking like-minded partners who share our commitment to expanding access to high-quality behavioral health services and transforming the way mental health patients are seen and cared for,” said Chris Hunter, chief executive officer of Acadia Healthcare. “Establishing a center of excellence in partnership with ECU Health presents a unique opportunity for us to support the development of the next generation of behavioral health care workers and clinicians. We’re excited to begin this important work with such a committed, patient-focused partner.”

Construction is expected to begin in 2023, pending standard state and regulatory approvals and gaining a Certificate of Need. To facilitate the development of the new 144-bed behavioral health hospital, ECU Health will transfer 80 of its current behavioral health beds.