- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - Leaders in two Iowa counties are considering separate plans for new or expanded psychiatric hospitals.

The Broadlawns Medical Center in Polk County plans to expand its in-patient psychiatric unit to help address a shortage of services for people with serious mental illnesses. It now has 30 psychiatric beds and plans to add 14 more.

CEO Jody Jenner said Wednesday that the expansion still must be approved by the hospital’s board of trustees but that he expects it to move forward. It’s part of a bigger project estimated to cost more than $30 million that includes building a new outpatient mental health clinic.

Broadlawns plans to finance much of the project, with state lawmakers agreeing to foot about $5 million. Another $5 million in donations is being sought through a private fundraising campaign.

The Des Moines area now has about 130 in-patient psychiatric beds at four hospitals, including Broadlawns.

It appeared this summer that the area would have gained dozens more of such beds, after company Strategic Behavioral Health LLC expressed interest in opening a psychiatric hospital.

But the Tennessee company now said it wants to build the facility in Davenport, which is in Scott County.

A majority of Scott County supervisors say they’re inclined to back the company’s efforts to build the 72-bed hospital, while also expressing hope that the Genesis Health System will move forward with its own plans to expand its behavioral health services.

Strategic has asked the state for permission to build the $14 million facility it hopes would open in April 2017. But the Quad-Cities’ two major hospitals oppose Strategic’s plan. Genesis has argued that Strategic’s plan will risk its own plans to offer behavioral health services.

Several county supervisors say they support both and believe it’s an opportunity for those in the community to collaborate, while others say they’re still gathering more information on the issue. One supervisor said he’s still undecided but is leaning toward Genesis’ position, praising its long-standing presence in the community.

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