CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – If you’ve been driven through DuBois, you may have noticed the large construction site on maple ave. It’s part of a multi-million dollar expansion project by Penn Highlands DuBois, of their behavioral health hospital.
The need for beds is something that the vice president of behavioral health services at Penn Highlands said is growing throughout the commonwealth. That demand for mental health services has grown in recent years, and this massive expansion project will help Penn Highlands to meet people’s needs. It will offer a multitude of services, that right now, you have to travel to Pittsburgh.
“There seems to be an increasing need for psychiatric services, inpatient and outpatient throughout the commonwealth,” said Richard Nenneau, the vice president of behavioral health services at Penn Highlands.
The three-floor expansion will include: same-day walk-in services on the first floor, a 22-bed acute child service center on the second floor, and the third floor will be home to extended stay for children and adolescents for up to 90 daysNenneau said the hospital receives thousands of referrals for behavioral health services per year — and this will allow them to accommodate their needs.
“We see a lot of people that present to our emergency department for instance, for some kind of acute crisis, but really don’t meet criteria or the need to go into an inpatient, but also can’t wait to see a physician or a therapist,” Nenneau said.
Nearly one year into construction on the building, the project’s manager said the end is in sight
“Projects going well, we’re on schedule. Weather permitting we’re hoping to wrap up the exterior by end of summer. And the whole facility by first of March,” said Barry Andrulonis, the project manager with Halstrom Construction.
The 50,000 square foot addition will also create about 200 new jobs at the hospital. Penn Highlands is actively searching for roles including psychiatrists, mid-level practitioners, psychiatric nurse practitioners, PA’s, registered nurses, LPN’s, and therapists. This fully staffed behavioral health team is essential for full same-day service to those in need.
“This way they’ll be able to come over to this building and see a therapist that same day and come up with a crisis plan to hold them until they can see their primary provider,” Nenneau said.
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