When it opens in the summer of 2020, Clive Behavioral Health will offer a first-of-its-kind approach in Iowa for inpatient mental health treatment, says Dr. Sasha Khosravi, chair of the Psychiatry Department at MercyOne Des Moines. 

MercyOne’s joint-venture partner for the 100-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital, Universal Health Services, uses an evidence-based treatment model in which patients will be grouped and treated together in small units based on their diagnoses, Khosravi said. By comparison, patients in inpatient behavioral health units are typically treated together in one large unit, “which makes it very challenging for meeting their needs,” he said. 

MercyOne is in its first year of operating its own psychiatric residency program to train new doctors, which currently has four residents and four additional doctors who will join the program this summer. Khosravi said he’s confident that a combination of resident psychiatrists from that program plus a pipeline of psychiatrists from Universal Health Systems will enable the hospital to fill a psychiatry staff, despite an overall shortage of psychiatrists. 

According to the certificate of need that MercyOne submitted to the state seeking approval for the hospital, Iowa has an unmet need of 350 to 550 inpatient behavioral health beds. That shortage often results in people waiting for days or even weeks in emergency rooms or intensive care units for behavioral health beds to become available.  

“I’m really excited about the individualized care [that Clive Behavioral Hospital will offer], and that kids and adults won’t be in a harsh environment of not knowing when they will get treatment,” Khosravi said.