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Crestwood anxious to start remodel of hospital


Last updated 8/2/2018 at 1:19pm

It's been 10 months since Crestwood Behavioral Health, Inc., completed its purchase of the old Fallbrook Hospital and officials with the company are still anxiously awaiting the green light to start an extensive remodel of the facility that will become the Fallbrook Healing Center.

Crestwood paid the Fallbrook Regional Health District $4.5 million for the vacant hospital, which closed in December 2014. At time of the sale (Sept. 29, 2017), Crestwood said it planned to invest up to $4 million revamping the building. That number has gone up.

"I think I can conservatively say it will be $8 million," said Patricia Blum, executive vice president of operations for Crestwood.

Crestwood submitted its building plans to the County of San Diego in February and expects to get approved plans back in early August.

"We're completing replacing the HVAC, heating and air conditioning," said Blum. "We're doing a lot of new rooms and changing other rooms. Some work involves pulling plumbing where we don't need it and adding in plumbing where we do need it. There's electrical work. There will be all new flooring and new painting."

Special features will include a theatre, a big recreational area for indoor games and an exercise room.

"For our clients we'll also have comfort rooms, serenity rooms, visiting rooms and living rooms, so there's a lot of different use of space," said Blum. "For our employees, we're doing an employee wellness room with exercise equipment. We'll also have comfort rooms for our employees."

Blum said she expects the Fallbrook Healing Center to have "at least" 120 full-time employees.

"We are hoping to get our leadership team hired in November or December, before the first of the year," said Blum, who added that the hiring of the entire staff would take place early in 2019.

There are many positions to be filled at the behavioral health facility, which will have 132 beds.

"We'll have maintenance workers, housekeepers, dietary aids and cooks, receptionists and office staff," said Blum. "We'll have recovery coaches. They provide direct service to the clients. We'll have licensed nurses and registered nurses."

Many of the clients at facilities operated by Crestwood come from the homeless population, and there has been a rise in the number of homeless in Fallbrook in the past year. Homeless individuals in Fallbrook with mental health illnesses would likely be placed at the Fallbrook Healing Center.

"The people who are picked up in Fallbrook are going to generally be under the care and supervision of the County of San Diego," said Blum. "The County of San Diego is planning to use the beds in Fallbrook for north county clients, so people in Fallbrook would definitely get priority for placement there."

Crestwood, the leading provider of mental health services in California, operates 31 programs in 21 locations.

"In some of our places, we have two programs on one campus," said Blum.

If Crestwood is able to begin its remodel project in August, Blum said the work should be completed by January or February.

"I think if we were shooting for something it would be March of 2019," said Blum of a speculative opening date for the Fallbrook Healing Center.


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