A report to legislators from the state Department of Health and Human Services puts one-time start-up costs for a fourth state psychiatric hospital at $137.2 million. Yearly operating expenses would be about $78 million, with about $61.9 million paid by the state.
Legislators asked DHHS to determine the cost of building a state hospital for use by a dozen counties including Mecklenburg, Union and Davidson. A state hospital in this region would be the smallest, at 200 beds, the DHHS study says.
Legislators asked for the study because patients wait an average of more than two days in emergency rooms for openings in state hospitals. The state has 866 beds in its three psychiatric hospitals, and the hospitals are considered full.
The state is building two replacement psychiatric hospitals in Goldsboro and in Morganton. The new Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, set to open this year, will have 124 more beds, bringing its total to 314. The new Broughton Hospital in Morganton will have room for 85 additional beds.
Maximizing space at the new buildings and using the old John Umstead Hospital in Butner could add 271 beds in 2015, the report says.