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CLIVE, Iowa (AP) — Mercy Medical Center officials say they’re working with a national health care company to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital in a Des Moines suburb.

Mercy filed a detailed application with state regulators on Wednesday that disclosed the hospital would be located in Clive. Mercy first announced plans for a new mental health facility earlier this month but didn’t disclose the planned location.

Mercy is partnering with Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services on the proposed project, the Des Moines Register reported . Universal Health has more than 350 hospitals and other facilities across the U.S. and in Great Britain. The Clive hospital would be its first project in Iowa.

The new facility would focus on inpatient care, though some outpatient services would be available, Mercy leaders said. Mercy has a medical center in Des Moines and clinics throughout the state.

Supporters say the Mercy project would address a critical shortage of treatment services in central Iowa. It would be the only free-standing mental hospital in the region. The $31 million facility could open by 2020, if approved by the state.

“The need for facilities addressing mental health is very, very high,” said Clive Mayor Scott Cirksena.

At least eight Iowa hospitals have closed their mental health facilities in recent years. The four psychiatric units in Des Moines hospitals are often full, creating long waits for treatment.

“The hardest thing for me to do is go up to a family, parents in crisis, in an emergency department, and say, ‘I know you’re in despair; I know your child is suffering, but right now, there’s simply nowhere to go,'” said Sasha Khosravi, a child psychiatrist and the medical director of Mercy’s behavioral health program.

The project will also need approval from the state Health Facilities Council, which will consider if the hospital will provide necessary services or if it could inflate health care costs by duplicating existing services.


Information from: The Des Moines Register,