FORT MYERS — A Tennessee-based operator of inpatient psychiatric hospitals has purchased the 76-bed Park Royal Hospital in Fort Myers.
The sale of the recently opened psychiatric hospital caught several local mental health officials by surprise.
The for-profit Acadia Healthcare Co., based in Franklin, Tenn., bought Park Royal for $33.4 million in cash and assumed debt, according to a company announcement.
Joey Jacobs, chairman and chief executive officer of Acadia, said in a news release that Acadia was pleased with the purchase and he described the Fort Myers area as an underserved market.
“We welcome the facility’s strong team of skilled professionals to Acadia, and we are confident of our ability to continue building the facility’s census,” Jacobs said.
Acadia operates 34 behavioral health facilities with 2,500 beds in 20 states. The company provides psychiatric and chemical dependency services in a variety of inpatient, residential and outpatient settings.
Park Royal opened in March at 9241 Park Royal Drive in south Fort Myers as a privately operated for-profit hospital.
The hospital’s founders were an investment group in Naples, Pavilion at HealthPark LLC., which applied in 2008 for a state hospital license.
The group’s decision was prompted in part by the closing in 2000 of the 96-bed Charter Glade mental health hospital in Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers, which left a void for inpatient psychiatric care in Lee County.
Mike Metcalf, president and chief executive officer of Park Royal, said Tuesday he did not have details about which group initiated talks of a possible sale or when the negotiations began.
“It’s been fairly quick,” he said, adding that the 150 employees were told Friday.
“It should be business as usual,” Metcalf said. “There should be no noticeable changes (but) being part of a stronger organization will be beneficial.”
Before the hospital opened, Park Royal was under contract with the Lee Memorial Health System to run the 15-bed Senior Behavioral Care program at Lee Memorial Hospital near downtown Fort Myers. The patients and staff moved to the new hospital in August.
Lee Memorial’s president and chief executive officer, Jim Nathan, said he expects Lee Memorial to be actively involved with Acadia since there is a close association between mental health and physical health.
“Their experience in the operation of dozens of behavioral health centers across the country will bring valuable expertise to our community and we enthusiastically welcome them,” Nathan said in a statement.
Construction of the $30 million Park Royal began in March 2011 for the three-story building with 72,000 square feet of space. Within the current building, the capacity can expand to 114 beds.
David Schimmel, executive director of the David Lawrence Center in Collier County, a nonprofit mental health organization, said the sale of Park Royal was a surprise to him.
“It almost appears they built this hospital to sell it,” Schimmel said.
With respect to patient care, Schimmel said he could only assume the new owners will continue to operate the hospital as it has been since it opened in March and in accordance with its state license.
Metcalf declined to comment about Schimmel’s speculation about the hospital being built to sell.
Kathryn Leib-Hunter, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Collier, also said the sale was unexpected to her.
“It just seemed to me they are just starting with their efforts to get involved in the local community and with what they are doing,” she said.
Metcalf said the hospital’s current occupancy rate is 60 percent. In September, Park Royal secured state approval to accept patients under the state’s “Baker Act” law, where patients can be involuntarily detained for a psychiatric evaluation because of concern by law enforcement or by family members that the individuals could pose a safety risk to themselves or others.
Construction of the $30 million hospital began in March 2011 for the three-story building with 72,000 square feet of space. Within the current building, the capacity can expand to 114 beds.