Proposed Woodbury psychiatric hospital suffers setbackby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
Plans for a new psychiatric hospital in Woodbury faced a setback Wednesday when a Senate committee failed to take action on the proposal.
St. Paul, Minn. — State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said he thought "there was enough opposition" among some lawmakers to prevent the proposal from advancing in the Senate.
"Most people recognize that there's a need for more psychiatric care," said Marty, who chairs the Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee. "But this proposal is too big, too much."
Wednesday was the deadline for bills to clear all the necessary policy committees in both bodies of the Legislature. If that didn't happen, they face an uphill battle becoming law.
Fargo-based Prairie St. John's had offered to scale down its proposal from 144 beds to 84.
Prairie St. John's spokesman John Ryan said the mental health care provider wanted to appease legislators who were concerned about the size of the proposed hospital. Ryan said the scaled-down version would still serve about 4,000 patients a year.
"We just want to be able to help Minnesotans get the care that they need. Any small step in the right direction is better than no step," Ryan said.
The Minnesota Department of Health opposes the proposal, saying a large standalone psychiatric institution isn't needed in the Twin Cities.
The department also said the Prairie St. John's plan would distract the state from a mission of expanding community-based crisis services.
The hospital would be built with private money but needs legislative approval because of an existing moratorium on new hospital construction. Half the beds proposed for the Woodbury facility would be reserved for children and adolescents.