Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, a joint venture between CHI Franciscan and MultiCare Health System, opened this week.

The $45 million nonprofit hospital will “transform behavioral healthcare in Washington state and increase access to much-needed behavioral health services for western Washington communities,” according to a press release.

“Our mission is to serve all those in need,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan, in a statement. “The need for access to behavioral healthcare and services continues to escalate throughout our state. Together with MultiCare, we recognized our shared responsibility to help address this crisis. Wellfound will serve as a critical resource not only for patients, but for providers and first responders to better assist individuals in need of specialized care and support.”

MultiCare President and CEO Bill Robertson echoed Patel’s praise for the new facility in a statement.

“We have looked forward to this day for a long time, and we know that Wellfound will have a profound and positive impact on our community by increasing rapid access to behavioral health services,” he stated. “Thanks to our partnership with CHI Franciscan we are now able to address the vital need for more inpatient psychiatric beds in our community.”

CHI Franciscan and MultiCare represent the two largest health systems in Pierce County. The two entities formed a unique joint venture in 2014 called the Alliance for south Sound Health with the goal of building and operating a new behavioral health hospital.

The new facility was designed with patient safety, experience, and high-quality care in mind. “The layout, architecture, calming aesthetics, natural lighting and nautical theme of the 67,000 square-foot hospital make it one of the region’s best-in-class facilities,” the press release states.

Wellfound will provide both voluntary and involuntary admissions with a focus on general adult psychiatric care for people 18 and older with common psychiatric conditions, such as acute depression, suicidal tendencies, self-injury, mania, psychosis, and anxiety, according to the release. The facility’s professional clinicians will treat behavioral health and coexisting secondary medical or chemical dependency conditions.

“Our highly trained doctors, nurses, licensed therapists and mental health professionals are focused on treating the whole person, taking into consideration the mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual states of well-being,” said Maureen Womack, CEO of Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, in the release. “Adults experiencing a mental health crisis will have a safe, calm environment, and comprehensive clinical services to ensure a seamless transition back into the community.”

Washington ranks 34 out of 50 states for abundance of mental health services. The national average for beds per 100,000 people is 26.1; Washington state averages 8.3 beds per 100,000 people. Pierce County ranks among the lowest among all of Washington’s urban counties with just 2.8 beds per 100,000 people. The opening of Wellfound will increase the number of adult inpatient beds in the area to approximately 16.3 beds per 100,000 people.

“This is a big deal,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer in a statement. “Someone battling a mental health challenge shouldn’t end up on the streets or in prison. They need a helping hand. Having Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital begin serving people in the South Sound will address an absolutely essential need — expanding access to mental healthcare and ensuring people can get care in an appropriate setting.”

The hospital will open its beds to patients in phases, starting with eight inpatient and six crisis-stabilization beds, with more added over time. When the hospital is fully operational, it will offer 120 inpatient beds and serve approximately 5,000 patients annually.

The hospital is located at 3402 S. 19th St., on the MultiCare Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma.