Peninsula Behavioral Health reports Port Angeles crisis center will open soon

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula Behavioral Health will open a six-bed mental health crisis respite center in Port Angeles this summer, Executive Director Peter Casey told the three Clallam County commissioners Monday.

Clallam County last March awarded a $238,260 contract to the not-for-profit mental health and chemical dependency treatment organization to get the respite center up and running.

The facility will be located in the soon-to-be remodeled St. Vincent De Paul building at 112 E. Eighth St.

It will become the only psychiatric hospitalization center on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Peninsula Behavioral Health secured additional funds from the state and Olympic Medical Center to provide the service.

“We have sufficient funding to operate this program indefinitely,” Casey announced in the commissioners' work session.

Casey said the goal is to begin construction in March and to open the respite center in July.

“I'm delighted to hear your timeline,” Commissioner Jim McEntire told Casey. “Sooner the better.”

McEntire said the facility will help manage a shortage in beds available to psychiatric patients.

OMC regularly boards mental health patients who would be better served in a dedicated respite center, Casey added.

“This is a facility that will help us manage that a lot better,” McEntire said.

Casey said Peninsula Behavioral Health wants to name the facility the Clallam County Respite Center.

“The program will be operated and run by Peninsula Behavioral Health, but it's sort of our way of recognizing the support of the county,” Casey said.

“Certainly without the funding, we never would have gotten this program off the ground.”

The facility will be officially named within the next two months.

The crisis stabilization unit will be supported by Hargrove funds, a one-tenth of 1 percent sales tax that supports public and private agencies that provide mental health or chemical dependency services.

The legislation was named for its sponsor, state Sen. Jim Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, whose 24th District includes the North Olympic Peninsula.

Casey said State Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, helped Peninsula Behavioral Health and Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics, or VIMO, secure state capital funds to renovate the St. Vincent De Paul building.

“The respite center would be in the back third,” Casey said.

“The front two thirds will be for relocating VIMO. The goal is to create a medical home for indigent clients in the community.”

The Clallam County Respite Center will be adjacent to the existing Peninsula Behavioral Health building at 118 E. Eighth St.

For information about Peninsula Behavioral Health, click on www.peninsulabehavioral.org.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 27. 2014 7:25PM
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