In a unanimous decision following a five-hour hearing, the commissioners approved Vail Health’s Northstar Center Planned Unit Development amendment to allow construction of a medical campus anchored by a behavioral health center that will include a 28-bed in-patient facility.
Local behavioral health leaders noted the in-patient beds will address the gap that currently exists in the valley. At present, patients who require hospitalization for behavioral health treatment must travel to Denver or Grand Junction and often can’t find availability even at those distant locations.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Colorado for our younger adult population,” said Chris Lindley, the chief population health officer for Vail Health and the executive director of Eagle Valley Behavioral Health. He noted the need for behavioral health services is particularly acute in the Colorado High Country.
A strong coalition of community resources has formed in Eagle County to address the local behavioral health need. Leading the way, Vail Health has pledged $60 million to the effort and already spent $12 million, Lindley said. Resources like the Hope Center of the Eagle River Valley have been created to provide crisis care. But the next step is a big one: the creation of an in-patient facility.