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Plans to replace Marshall I. Pickens Hospital could be put on hold after the Department of Health and Environmental Control rejected an application for the construction of a new psychiatric facility in Greenville County.

In November 2016, Greenville Health System and Acadia Healthcare announced plans to expand mental health services in Greenville County with the creation of the joint venture, Grove Point. The health systems planned to invest $64 million in the new hospital, offering 120 inpatient beds - more than currently available at Marshall I. Pickens.

GHS stressed the need for an innovative expansion to the area's behavioral health services, saying the community has "serious mental health needs" that must be addressed.

DHEC denied the application, saying other providers in the area could be adversely affected by the new hospital. According to officials, Springbrook Behavioral Health the the Carolina Center for Behavioral Health both formally opposed the project, saying it would unnecessarily duplicate the services they offer in the Upstate.

The new independent hospital would not keep the ability to get adult Medicaid reimbursement from the Department of Health and Human Services, DHEC said. Data suggests an average of 21 percent of discharges from the new hospital would be adult Medicaid patients, but under SC law, freestanding psychiatric hospitals are ineligible for adult Medicaid reimbursement.

DHEC also expressed doubts about Grove Point's compliance with the current state health plan enacted in 2015.

GHS and Acadia have appealed the decision, which they said they believe was made in error.

Read the full statement from Sandy Dees, spokesperson for GHS:“Greenville Health System has requested that the Board of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, which oversees DHEC, review and overturn the staff decision, which we believe was made in error. We hope that DHEC will allow us to proceed with this innovative plan which will allow GHS, as part of a joint-venture partnership with Acadia Healthcare, to actually expand much-needed behavioral health services in our area. Under the projections for the new partnered hospital, services provided to adult Medicaid patients were expected to increase over what GHS could currently provide by itself.

The state of mental health in the Upstate is at a crossroads. It will take innovative partnerships like the one we have developed with Acadia to meaningfully address the serious mental health needs of our community. We hope and believe that the DHEC Board will agree that our plan is a good, solid one and grants us the approval to start building this new hospital.”Read the full letter of rejection from DHEC here:

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