Chamber hears plans for psychiatric hospital
by Staff Writer
CORNELIUS – The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee heard plans last week for a proposed 44-bed psychiatric hospital Carolinas Healthcare System wants to build in Huntersville.
The chamber board will eventually take a position on Carolinas Healthcare’s proposal.
F. Del Murphy, Carolinas Healthcare vice president of planning, shared schematics and schedules for moving forward with the $24.5 million project, which the company hopes to build on Verhoeff Road near the Huntersville Oaks nursing home.
The psychiatric hospital would employ about 114 people. Carolinas Healthcare has petitioned the state for a certificate of need, a lengthy process that will likely stretch into October. State officials are still taking comments from the public.
The reason for the hospital, Murphy said, is the growing need for psychiatric services and lack of hospital beds available in the area. Many of those in need end up in emergency rooms, waiting for space to open in one of the facilities around the region, which costs millions each year.
The hospital system wants the state to transfer the license for 44 beds at Broughton Hospital in Morganton to the Huntersville hospital.
Lake Norman Chamber President Bill Russell said he couldn’t speak for his board, but personally hopes Mecklenburg County and Huntersville will approve the hospital.
“Having had family members who needed psychiatric help, I feel like this is a very important option for this community,” he said. “Everyone has at least one family member who needs this type help, and the idea of having to travel to Charlotte or some other county to get them that help must be very scary for them.”
Mecklenburg County leaders said they want more information about how the facility would affect CMC-Randolph’s psychiatric hospital in south Charlotte before supporting it.
Hospital leaders, however, said they don’t expect any opposition to the facility.
Want to be heard?
State officials will conduct a public hearing on the proposed mental health hospital July 14 at 12:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Government Center, located at the corner of East 3rd and South Davidson streets. Any member of the public can comment.