PERMIAN BASIN (Nexstar)- The Permian Basin is one step closer to building a new, comprehensive mental health center, thanks to Midland Memorial Hospital, Medical Center Hospital, and State Representatives Tom Craddick and Brooks Landgraf.
Monday evening, state representatives approved Senate Bill 8, legislation directing how the state will spend federal dollars allocated under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; as part of that bill, the Basin is set to receive $40 million dollars to help fund the new facility.
“Our communities in West Texas have a dire need for quality mental healthcare. The mental health hospital is a great stride towards meeting the mental health needs of West Texas. I am honored to have worked on securing this funding and look forward to this facility being a resource for generations to come,” Craddick said.
“In the weeks and months after the August 31, 2019 mass shooting, local leaders in Odessa and Midland identified the need for additional behavioral and mental health services in our region. COVID-19 put that discussion on hold momentarily. I’m thankful that we kept the drumbeat going, and that our communities have come together to accomplish this important goal. I’m proud of our work together,” Landgraf added.
While it is still in its early stages, the center will include 100 inpatient beds and outpatient psychiatric care facilities, along with a crisis stabilization unit, professional offices, and counseling and therapeutic spaces appropriate for all ages and will be quite an upgrade for Basin patients who currently must drive to Lubbock or San Angelo to access similar care.
MMH’s Chief Executive Officer Russell Meyers said MMH and MCH have been working together for years to come up with a plan for a hospital like this.
“We are far short of meeting the needs of our community for behavioral health services of all kinds. Everything from entry level counseling for people with anxiety or depression, through medical management with easy access to a psychiatrist, through in-patient care if it’s needed,” Meyers said.
The allocation of $40 million dollars is just a first step. Meyers said the center will need additional funding, but no matter the financial needs, area hospitals will make building the center an immediate priority. A location for the new campus has not been chosen, however, local and state leaders say if HB8 is signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, they expect the campus to be up and running by 2024.