Open house, dedication is Saturday for MercyOne’s new behavioral health center

MASON CITY — MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center on Saturday will hold an open house as they dedicate their new behavioral health center. The $10.6 million, 27-thousand-200 square foot facility sits next to the hospital’s emergency department will help MercyOne expand the number of services it can offer to those struggling with mental illness and substance abuse issues.

MercyOne Medical Group North Iowa senior vice president Doctor Teresa Mock says the new facility will help fill a need in the community.  “For several years, we’ve had to turn away patients that we have not been able to care for because of the lack of room for our inpatients to approximately 3000 patients a year that we have had to turn away. We receive patients from all around the state of Iowa, so it’s not only from our own community but throughout the state. There is very much is a need for this facility, and we’re very excited to be able to offer that to help increase our services here.”

Behavioral Health Care director Rose Brantner says one of the major differences in the new unit is that all the adult rooms have private beds. “Currently we have 70 private rooms, and rooms are shared, so that would be a very nice change for patients, but it also allows us to optimize our bed availability. In addition, we have a lot of very different features even aesthetically in the new unit. It’s a very calming, relaxing environment. It really tries to move away from an institutional feel.”

Brantner says having private rooms will also help with the treatment of patients.  “For a lot of patients, this is a first experience on a psychiatric unit. In combination with it being a new environment, but also being with someone that they don’t know that can make it even more anxiety-provoking, so this allows them to still be part of the group therapies, but then kind of retreat back to us and individualized room. The rooms also have their private bathroom and showers.”

Mock says she thinks there will be a lot of things that will surprise people that come for Saturday’s open house.  “This is a regular unit in the hospital, just like any other nursing unit. It looks like a very welcoming and calming environment. You will see each of the private rooms are nice, but there’s also a beautiful group area that has a fireplace, a large television for group encounters. There’s a very nice group therapy room, a nice dining room, calming colors, just a very therapeutic and calm environment for our patients.”

The open house for the new center will be from 12:00 to 5:00 Saturday afternoon, with a dedication ceremony taking place at 2 o’clock.