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Construction of behavioral health facility progressing

Times-Tribune - 8/15/2022

Aug. 15—MOOSIC — A steady hum of heavy machinery emanated from the future site of a new behavioral health facility Monday afternoon as crews work to erect the structure.

Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast, a collaboration between Geisinger and Acadia Healthcare, is projected to open in August 2023.

The 96-bed, 73,000-square-foot inpatient behavioral health facility at 60 Glenmaura National Blvd. will serve adult, pediatric and adolescent patients who struggle with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and PTSD.

Among the more than 30 workers on site Monday, some hauled crushed rock while others installed exterior sheeting on patient rooms or constructed structural steel framing.

Dawn Zieger, associate vice president of behavioral health for Geisinger, stressed the new facility will fill a major void for mental health care in the region, particularly as Commonwealth Health announced plans to close First Hospital in Kingston — which provides inpatient psychiatric treatment for children, adolescents and adults — and also end affiliated outpatient treatment effective Oct. 30.

"It's more important than ever," Zieger said. "We already projected a bed shortage of more than 100 to 300 beds in the Northeast by 2024. We're going to have specific programming for mood disorders and we intend to offer partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient day programs."

Rusty Hoffman, senior project manager for East Petersburg-based Warfel Construction, noted work on the facility began in March and the company hopes to wrap up the job by June 2023.

"We're currently working on bringing the building up out of the ground with footing foundations and structural steel work," he said. "We're trying to get as much done before winter as we can."

Site superintendent for Warfel Construction, Garry Gross, said framing on the patient wings is underway and he expects crews to start interior framing and roofing within two to three weeks.

As construction moves forward, Geisinger and Acadia named Jenna Pacini as chief executive officer for Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast on Monday.

She will oversee the development of the facility including staff recruitment and training, clinical programming design, and oversight of all key functions leading to the opening of the hospital.

"This is a tremendous opportunity (to) build an organization that brings the best of both joint venture partners to meet the need for quality behavioral healthcare in this area of Pennsylvania," she said in a release. "I look forward to building a culture of compassion and clinical excellence, with an unwavering commitment to caring for our patients."

Pacini most recently served as chief operating officer of Belmont Behavioral Health System in Philadelphia, a 252-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital.

Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare provides psychiatric and chemical dependency services to patients in specialty treatment facilities, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment centers, outpatient clinics and therapeutic school-based programs.

Geisinger providers will staff the facility while Acadia will manage day-to-day operations.

Geisinger and Acadia also plan to construct a behavioral health hospital in Danville which will also serve adult and pediatric patients.

Contact the writer:; 570-348-9131; @rtomkavage on Twitter.


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