It’s a long way off, but plans have been made to improve mental health services in Benewah County.

Valley Vista Care Corporation (VVCC) announced last week their intent to build a new psychiatric hospital in St. Maries. Chuck Lloyd, CEO of Valley Vista, said the new hospital would ideally open in late 2023 or early 2024. He added that several sites were being considered for the new project and that the company was excited about providing new kinds of care to North Idaho.

“People think Valley Vista is just St. Maries, and just the nursing home, but we’re actually far more than that,” he said.

The new hospital would stabilize patients who need acute psychiatric care. The National Alliance on Mental Illness categorizes this type of facility as a “Crisis Stabilization Unit.” Its website says they “may be designed to admit on a voluntary or involuntary basis when the person needs a safe, secure environment€to try to stabilize the person and get him or her back into the community quickly.”

For example, if a patient was at risk of self-harm or hurting others, needing immediate supervision and care away from their everyday surroundings, the new hospital would provide those services.

This would be part of what the company calls its “continuum of care,” providing a range of assistance based on what patients need, from home visits to long-term medical attention in a residential facility. Since beginning by developing nursing homes, VVCC has also developed a behavioral care program for people with memory issues and a similar program for people with traumatic brain injuries.

Those resources allow patients to receive care locally, rather than needing to travel to a state facility further away. In building the new hospital, the company aims to apply that same approach as it continues serving St. Maries and Benewah County. Their goal is to break ground next fall.

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