To refer a patient call: 844-350-8800
Ridgeview Institute, the new behavioral hospital in Monroe, Ga., is now open for business. It began accepting patients last week.
“ It is a soft opening, and we are accepting a limited number of adult patients to our inpatient unit as well as our day hospitalization,” said Melissa Lee, director of business development for US HealthVest, the holding company of Ridgeview Institute.
In an opening speech at the Ribbon Cutting on Jan. 12, 2017, Lee cited the suicide statistics that impact people’s lives every day. As a community outreach, the hospital hosted a Continuing Education Unit (CEU) on Strengths-based Suicide Assessments. She said that the facility would continue to provide professional education programs for referring professionals as well as the community.
Monroe Mayor Greg Thompson said he was pleased that the building was no longer standing vacant and was being put to good use.
“Being an elected official, when you have a big vacant building sitting in your downtown area that is a big concern, so we just want to say thank you again for coming in and taking this building and refurbishing it,” Thomson said, going on to say it has been exciting to watch the development. “In addition to the significant capital investment put into the redevelopment of this site, Ridgeview Institute will also bring 200 new jobs to our city and offer much needed healthcare services to Walton county and the surrounding areas.”
And it is the sentiments that those mental healthcare services are much needed in the community that are echoed by law enforcement officials in Walton County and the surrounding area. Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman said he actively lobbied for the facility at the state Capitol when there was initially an objection to US HealthVest’s Certificate of Need.”
“I went to the state and fought for that and helped get letters of support from Sheriff (Jud) Smith from Barrow County and Sheriff (Ezell) Brown from Newton County,” Chapman said. Ridgeview Institute will serve patients from Walton, Barrow, Clarke, Greene, Morgan, Newton, Oglethorpe, Oconee and Rockdale counties. “Mental health is a real problem for hospitals and for law enforcement, you can ask the sheriffs at all 159 counties in Georgia. Over 60 percent of all inmates are on some type of mental health medication.”
Chapman said when state mental facilities fell under federal guidelines and institutes like the state behavioral facility in Milledgeville closed down in 2010, it put a lot of the burden of caring for those dealing with mental health issues on local hospitals as well as law enforcement and jails. He said he is hoping that the opening of Ridgeview will help alleviate some of that burden for local law enforcement as well as Clearview Regional Medical Center.
“We are still going to have to transport some to state facilities, but they (Ridgeview) have assured me that there will be bed space available for our citizens dealing with a mental health issue,” Chapman said.
Officials with Ridgeview said they can accept patients dealing with mental health issues as long as there is not a medical issue as well. Those patients would obviously have to go to a medical facility for treatment first.
Dr. Richard Kresch, CEO of US HealthVest, and Tim Merritt, CEO of the hospital, said they have had hospital personnel in the areas to be served by Ridgeview approach him to say how much relief they expect from the opening of this behavioral institute.
“We’re very proud to be a part of the healthcare continuum here in Walton County and partnership with our other hospitals in the area to provide behavioral health services here,” Merrit said at the ribbon cutting. “We’re looking forward to what we can bring and how we can help people going forward. We’ve already received phone calls from people reaching out to us.”
The hospital is offering free mental health assessments 24/7. You can call 844-350-8800 to refer a patient.