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Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine proposes a freestanding facility in Lancaster City’s Northwest Gateway to greatly enhance our region’s access to critical behavioral-health services.

Project planning for the proposed facility, to be built on a portion of a 75-acre former industrial site in the city’s northwest, is in its initial stages. Following required local and state approvals, the facility could open in 2018.

The proposed 126-bed facility would provide a wide range of behavioral-health services to meet current and future community demand. In addition to general adult inpatient care, it would include Lancaster County’s only adolescent unit, as well as dedicated inpatient units for older adults, women’s trauma, and patients with complex medical conditions or substance-abuse disorders. The facility also would offer day treatment and intensive outpatient services for adults and adolescents.

LG Health/Penn Medicine is pursuing a partnership with a national provider of behavioral-health services to build and operate the facility. The partner will be announced in the coming weeks.

Improving access to behavioral-health services is one of our community’s top health priorities. Current providers are unable to meet the growing demand for services, including inpatient beds for adolescents and patients with a "dual diagnosis" of behavioral-health and substance abuse issues. An estimated 30,000 county adults are diagnosed with depression.

Lancaster General Hospital is the largest provider of acute-care behavioral-health services in the county. LGH’s 36 adult behavioral-health beds often are full, requiring patients to leave the county to receive inpatient care. LGH is unable to add behavioral-health beds to meet current and future demand.

The proposed facility would be the first structure built on the Northwest Gateway, an historic $75 million urban redevelopment project long identified as a location for future medical services. It likely would be located near the CVS store at College and Harrisburg avenues, with frontage on the new, extended part of Liberty Street.  

The proposed facility would not resemble a traditional medical building. Its design could look similar to Women & Babies Hospital, complementing the area’s existing mix of educational, commercial and industrial uses.

LG Health/Penn Medicine has begun discussions with city officials to address potential zoning and land-development concerns associated with the project. Several city, county and state agencies also will review the project plans. LG Health/Penn Medicine plans to pay city and school district property taxes associated with the facility.

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