Scripps Announces New, Larger Behavioral Health Facility

February 16, 2019
Partnership with leading care provider will increase bed capacity in San Diego County
NAMI San Diego
February 12, 2109


SAN DIEGO – Scripps Health will develop a new inpatient behavioral health facility in partnership with Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACHC) that will provide treatment for three times as many patients as its existing behavioral health unit at Scripps Mercy Hospital San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • A significant increase in behavioral health inpatient bed capacity for San Diego County
  • A partnership that brings together the region’s top health care provider with one of the largest providers of behavioral health services in the United States
  • More than 150 new jobs for the area

The new center, which will serve as a regional resource to meet the needs of patients from across San Diego County, will be operated by a joint venture between Scripps Health and Acadia, a provider of behavioral health services through its network of 586 health care facilities with approximately 18,000 beds in 40 states, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico.

The planned 120-bed facility eventually will replace Scripps Mercy Hospital’s current 36-bed inpatient behavioral health unit as part of a master development plan announced last year that addresses state seismic safety regulations. Scripps will continue to offer behavioral health support at all of its hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers on an ongoing basis.

The new center, to be located in Chula Vista, is expected to be complete and ready to receive patients in 2023. Until then, Scripps will continue to operate its current inpatient behavioral health unit, while also investing more than $1 million in safety upgrades for the remaining years it is in service.

“This collaboration gives us the opportunity not only to continue, but to significantly expand our commitment to serve behavioral health patients,” said Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder. “We selected Acadia as our partner because of the company’s deep expertise in the specialized field of behavioral health and its experience operating hundreds of facilities, many in partnership with other health care providers.”

“We are delighted to enter this important partnership with Scripps Health,” said Debbie Osteen, Chief Executive Officer of Acadia. “This initiative is commensurate with Acadia’s mission to leverage our expertise in behavioral healthcare and expand our services and capabilities in more communities across the country. We look forward to working with the prestigious Scripps Health team to develop this new regional facility and more effectively meet the growing behavioral healthcare needs in San Diego County.”

Adult and adolescent care

The newly built center will provide adult inpatient and adolescent care, as well as outpatient services as part of post-discharge care for former inpatients. Scripps’ charity care policies will be honored to ensure Scripps’ commitment to underserved patients continues.

Scripps will have a strong oversight role on quality and access at the new facility through its participation on the joint board of managers. The board of managers will also select the center’s clinical and administrative leadership.

When complete, the new center will employ approximately 250 people, compared to the 93 employees at Scripps’ current inpatient behavioral health unit.

Ongoing support

Scripps Health will continue to operate its systemwide psychiatric liaison team, which provides services to patients in all Scripps hospitals and urgent care centers. Each Scripps hospital also will continue to have social work services and psychiatrists to help patients with co-existing behavioral health conditions and to provide appropriate referrals.

The partnership with Acadia is just the latest example of Scripps joining forces with other leading health care providers to deliver the best care possible to patients. Scripps has a long history of such collaborations, including with MD Anderson, Rady Children’s Hospital, Family Health Centers of San Diego, San Ysidro Health Center and other hospital and health care systems.

“The future of health care is rooted in these types of collaborations,” Van Gorder said. “Scripps is actively seeking out partners like Acadia that excel in their specialty fields and can help us address the health care needs of our communities.”

Acadia is a provider of behavioral health care services. As of Sept. 30, 2018, Acadia operated a network of 586 behavioral health care facilities with approximately 18,000 beds in 40 states, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico. Acadia provides behavioral health and addiction services to its patients in a variety of settings, including inpatient psychiatric hospitals, specialty treatment facilities, residential treatment centers and outpatient clinics.


Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a nonprofit integrated health care delivery system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats more than 750,000 patients annually through the dedication of 3,000 affiliated physicians and more than 15,000 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, 27 outpatient centers and clinics, and hundreds of affiliated physician offices throughout the region.

Recognized as a leader in disease and injury prevention, diagnosis and treatment, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research. With three highly respected graduate medical education programs, Scripps is a longstanding member of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Scripps has been ranked five times as one of the nation’s best health care systems by Truven Health Analytics. Its hospitals are ranked No. 1 in San Diego County and among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Scripps also is recognized by Advisory Board, Fortune and Working Mother magazine as one of the best places in the nation to work. More information can be found at




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