- Associated Press - Thursday, June 14, 2018

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa residents are speaking out against plans to build a 100-bed psychiatric hospital in a Des Moines suburb.

Mercy Medical Center officials announced last month that they’re working with a national company on the $31 million project in Clive.

The facility would help serve residents with limited options for mental health care, said Sandy Swanson, a Mercy executive helping lead the project.

“These are folks that we live and work with every day. And our purpose, our goal, is to help them reorient into their community after they’ve had a crisis and to continue to be a productive member of society,” she said.

Safety was chief among concerns shared at a meeting Tuesday night with Mercy and Clive officials. Area resident Ed Snuffin said he agrees that more mental health services are needed, but disagrees with the decision to build the facility near a residential neighborhood. He said that while most patients likely won’t be dangerous, it just takes one patient or lapse in security for something bad to happen.

Mercy officials said the facility would be run safely, with security cameras and locked doors.

Some residents asked why Mercy couldn’t add a psychiatric wing to its West Des Moines hospital, which has empty space, instead of building a new facility in a residential area. Mercy officials said they have other plans for that space, but didn’t elaborate.

Mayor Scott Cirksena said Clive welcomes efforts to improve people’s health and that mental health is no exception.

If the project is approved by the state, Mercy Medical plans to partner with for-profit company, Universal Health Services. The new facility could open by June 2020.

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