Nearly three years after plans for a mental health hospital along Route 183 in Bern Township met opposition from a group of residents, the in-patient facility is ready for admissions.
Tower Behavioral Health, a joint venture between Acadia Healthcare and Berks County-based Tower Health, the parent company of Reading Hospital, opened July 13, officials announced.
The new behavioral health facility is located at 201 Wellness Way across from Reading Regional Airport.
Tower Health and Acadia Healthcare hosted a ribbon cutting celebration consistent with social distancing guidelines, with Tower Health President and CEO Clint Matthews and Acadia Healthcare CEO Debbie Osteen addressing an audience.
When the project was announced in December 2017, hospital officials said it could employ as many as 300 people.
The hospital plans to move its 40-bed behavioral health program from its West Reading campus to the new facility.
The hospital had planned to relocate its in-patient acute mental health treatment program to the new facility but that was one of the programs being eliminated next month in response to tens of millions of dollars in revenues losses experienced across the Tower Health system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a press release.
Behavioral Health paid $49 million for the 43.72-acre undeveloped site between Teleflex Inc. and Penn State Health St. Joseph Hospital for the mental health hospital. A contractor broke ground in December 2018.
Some residents of the nearby Greenfields neighborhood opposed the project when plans were presented a year earlier, saying it would negatively impact their property values and security. Township supervisors approved the plan, and two appeals by one resident to Berks County Court were unsuccessful.
In approving signage for the facility, however, the supervisors required removal of “hospital” from signage.
PennDOT required construction of a roundabout on Route 183, also known as Bernville Road.
Initially, the hospital will offer acute inpatient care for adults, officials said.
Care will be provided in a general psychiatric unit, with a mood-disorders unit for adults scheduled to be added after the facility has opened. Additional expansion plans include age-appropriate units for children and adolescents in 2021.
Tower Health and Acadia Healthcare said the project will meet significant needs in the community for mental health services while expanding the number of inpatient beds.
When fully operational, Tower Behavioral Health will include 144 inpatient beds and will offer inpatient psychiatric care for age groups from children and adolescents to seniors.
Other services to be offered as the facility ramps up to full operation include:
• A pre-hospital hospitalization program.
• Intensive outpatient program.
• Dual-diagnosis services.
• Outpatient counseling.
• Physician services and consultations.
"Tower Health is committed to serving communities throughout this region, and we are proud to be partnering with Acadia Healthcare to increase access to this much-needed service while fulfilling our promise of advancing health and transforming lives," Matthews said in the news release.
Tower Behavioral Health will serve individuals who have been experiencing mental health concerns such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, self-harm and suicidal ideation. The treatment center will also accept patients who have a primary mental health diagnosis and a co-occurring substance use disorder.
"Acadia is pleased to be partnering with a leading health system like Tower Health to provide these critically needed services in southeastern Pennsylvania,” Osteen said in the new release. “Working together, we will be able to integrate physical and mental healthcare to improve the overall health of patients.
"This new facility will play a vital role in the local community and have a significant positive impact on individuals and families throughout the area for many years to come."
The behavioral health hospital will expand the number of inpatient beds available to the community, and it will enable providers to effectively engage with patients, families, and other members of each patient's support team.
"Patients and families who turn to us in times of need can expect to receive superior services provided by a team of experienced and compassionate professionals," said Tower Behavioral Health CEO Stephanie Lee. "We are honored to serve Berks County and the surrounding communities, and we look forward to establishing ourselves as a valued and trusted resource for the families who live here."
Tower Health is owner of Reading Hospital and Pottstown Hospital and several other hospitals in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Acadia Healthcare is a leading provider of behavioral health care services. As of the end of March, it operated a network of 588 behavioral healthcare facilities with approximately 18,200 beds in 40 states, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico.