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Sherman approves youth mental health facility

Herald Democrat - 2/19/2019

Feb. 18--Carrus Behavioral Hospital got city approval for a planned facility that would offer mental health services for children ages 3 to 17.

The Sherman City Council unanimously approved a special-use permit Monday for the mental health facility to be located on the second floor of the medical office building at 1724 W. U.S. Highway 82, which is just east of Carrus Hospital's current campus and between Post Oak Crossing and Rex Cruse Drive. A document created for the council by city staff states Carrus Behavioral Hospital will provide inpatient and outpatient care for minors as young as 3 years old.

"This is going in the newest building they have," Director of Developmental Services Scott Shadden said. "The state's requiring this (specific-use permit) so they can get their license for the hospital."

The council's approval came following a public hearing that saw no one come forward to address the request for a specific-use permit, other than Carrus Health Holdings LLC President Jon Michael Rains, who was present to answer any questions.

Sherman's Planning & Zoning Commission approved a site plan for Carrus Behavioral Hospital last month and recommended approval of the specific-use permit.

"Mental health care needs a lot of help in the state of Texas," Rains said to the commission last month. "There are over 2,000 inpatient beds needed across the state. We are proposing moving forward with 28 inpatient beds, as well as full service outpatient services."

Council member Josh Stevenson, who made the motion to approve the specific-use permit, said he believes the facility will be a benefit to Sherman.

"I know that adding a second floor will potentially mean adding staff and adding revenue for the city," Stevenson said. "They (Carrus) have been a great operator and a great partner since they've been here."

Rains told the commission in January that plans had changed from when the medical office building was first approved because of the nature of the health care industry.

"I am aware there is another behavioral hospital in Sherman which is at capacity," Rains said. "Due to the radius of patients we pull from, our goal is actually to make this facility a pediatric and adolescent facility. It will definitely be a niche and once we get approval, we're ready to move forward and finish out construction on that project."

Sherman initially approved plans for the 31,000-square-foot medical office building in late 2016. The new specific-use permit was required to allow inpatient and outpatient care in a retail business district.

Rains previously said roughly 17,000 square feet of the building will be dedicated to patient care, while approximately 11,000 square feet will be leased to a dialysis center. He also noted there will be separate entrances for the behavioral patients and the dialysis patients.

Stevenson said he didn't feel the proposed facility being near a residential area was an issue.

"Where it's positioned, they're already doing business there," Stevenson said. "They've got plenty of parking. They're not making a lot of noise, hopefully, over there. So that's not a concern."

When that issue was raised at the commission meeting last month, Rains said his staff's intent will be to focus on children and leave the adult patient needs to other facilities. Rains said he also plans to bring in a child psychiatrist.

"When you put it into practical stances, nobody wants to see a 3- or 4-year-old be in abusive situations," Rains said. "It is going to be more of a transformational child and adolescent facility. I am going to let someone else take care of adults as there are plenty of other facilities of that type."

Rains also said Carrus Behavioral Hospital's staff will focus on catching issues early in order to improve the life of patients.

"We have already gotten a lot of input from the community as far as the type of facility we are building," Rains said.

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(c)2019 the Herald Democrat (Sherman, Texas)

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