A privately operated mental health hospital in south Fort Myers has gained state approval to accept patients who are being involuntarily detained for an evaluation, hospital officials announced Tuesday.
The 76-bed Park Royal Hospital submitted an application to the state Department of Children and Families last month for a license under the Baker Act, a state law that allows people to be committed involuntarily for up to 72 hours for a mental health evaluation. The involuntary commitment is out of concern the individuals could harm themselves or others.
"Using the Baker Act is stressful for both patients and their families, but it is an important tool for getting treatment," Mike Metcalf, president and chief executive officer of Park Royal, said in a statement.
Officials with the David Lawrence Center in Collier County, a nonprofit mental health center, and with the Collier County chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness have been supportive of Park Royal's application because of a shortage of Baker Act beds to support the need.
The only Baker Act center in Collier is at David Lawrence on Golden Gate Parkway, which is a public center.
"We encourage calls from people who are facing behavioral health issues, as well as concerned family members or friends, whether there is an emergency or if the problem is ongoing," Ed Handy, director of clinical operations of Park Royal, said in a statement.
"Our staff members are available around the clock to answer questions, provide information and determine if Park Royal Hospital can help."
Park Royal opened in March at 9241 Park Royal Drive at the campus of HealthPark Medical Center in south Lee County. HealthPark is part of the Lee Memorial Health System.
Park Royal offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment for adults and geriatric patients for depression, anxiety, mood disorders, memory problems, post-traumatic stress and for combined treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues.
A group of investors in Naples saw the closing of the 96-bed Charter Glade mental hospital in 2000 in Fort Myers as leaving a gap in services for people with mental illness and decided to pursue a state license to build a new psychiatric hospital.
Eight years later in 2008, the state held a public hearing in Fort Myers as part of the certificate of need process.
Construction of the $30 million hospital began in early spring for the 72,000-square-foot, three-story building.
When fully staffed at 200 employees, the hospital is expected to have an overall payroll projection of $100 million annually. By the third year of operation, the hospital anticipates treating 3,200 patients annually with a daily census of 64 patients.