Harrison County

2 Gulfport mental health clinics close as new provider makes changes

Gulfport Memorial announced earlier this year the sale of Memorial Behavioral Health, which had a campus at the former Sand Hill mental health hospital on U.S. 49, just north of Interstate 10. The new company renamed it Gulfport Behavioral Health, which announced Monday it is closing the clinics at Gulfport Memorial and on U.S. 49.
Gulfport Memorial announced earlier this year the sale of Memorial Behavioral Health, which had a campus at the former Sand Hill mental health hospital on U.S. 49, just north of Interstate 10. The new company renamed it Gulfport Behavioral Health, which announced Monday it is closing the clinics at Gulfport Memorial and on U.S. 49.

The new Gulfport Behavioral Health, purchased from Memorial Hospital at Gulfport earlier this year, has announced it will close its outpatient clinics and focus on inpatient services.

It will be closing the clinics at Memorial and at the main campus on U.S. 49, the former Sand Hill Mental Health hospital.

The outpatient services will end Oct. 15. Employees that are involved have been notified, and a spokesperson for GBH said they had no immediate comment on possible layoffs.

In December 2017, Universal Health Services Inc. and Gulfport Memorial announced the sale of Memorial Behavioral Health, a 109-bed behavioral health facility for adults, adolescents and children, along with the two outpatient clinics.

Michael A. Zieman, CEO of Gulfport Behavioral Health System, told the Sun Herald in a letter Monday that the company is undertaking a renovation of the psychiatric hospital, expanding the inpatient bed count to 74 for children and adolescents.

“We currently operate 16 existing beds for adults. Upon completion of the renovation, we will have a total of 90 beds in operation,” he said.

He said the change is to help address the shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds for children and adolescents in South Mississippi.

The clinics’ outpatients will be sent to other clinics or outpatient providers in the local community by Oct. 15. However, two psychiatrists will continue to provide medication for GBH outpatient services on a limited basis.

The renovation is expected to begin in the fall and should be operational early next year, Zieman said.

“With more than 80 outpatient mental health providers in South Mississippi certified by Medicaid alone, and many more licensed by the state board of Social Work, Marriage and Family and the Psychology Board, residents in the local communities have access to many providers,” Zieman said.

Gulfport Behavioral Health System has been serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast for more than 33 years, he said, with abroad range of mental health services for children, adolescents and adults.

Karen Nelson can be reached at 228-896-2310 or @NelsonNews_atSH

About 75 percent of lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 24, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. But the average delay between onset and intervention is 8 to 10 years, meaning people could go years before getting help.

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