LANSING, Mich. – Following a review by an independent consulting firm, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending an 84-bed facility in Caro; reopening units at existing state hospitals; and increasing resources into community-based programs to help serve individuals in need of mental health services.
The MDHHS recommendation would continue funding levels for the current 794 beds statewide. This would include realigning current funding through the following actions:
• Maintain an 84-bed facility at Caro, via either large-scale modernization or new construction. An 84-bed facility will be close to the current census and will reflect the state’s approach to hospital unit design, utilization for patients and construction. Staff needed to support the facility, professional and nonprofessional, will remain at current levels.
• Shift the remaining 61 beds to other existing state hospitals closer to major population centers. Existing facilities have closed units that can be brought back into use at a limited cost.
• Pursue additional resources into community-based services sufficient to care for more than 55 additional high-acuity individuals.
“These recommendations will sustain and strengthen the Caro community’s historic role in providing psychiatric care,” said MDHHS director Robert Gordon. “They will also improve the quality of mental health services at state hospitals, while expanding community-based care. Finally, the recommendations will achieve their results at significantly lower cost than the legislature previously anticipated, allowing for additional investment in other urgent health priorities.”
Based on preliminary estimates, the capital costs associated with renovation or a new build at Caro is estimated at $40-$65 million and renovating other existing facilities at under $20 million. No capital costs would be associated with the community-based investment. Based on these estimates, capital costs of these recommendations will be $30-$55 million less than the $115 million authorized by the legislature.
In 2017, the state legislature authorized financing to construct a new hospital on the Caro site. The new Caro Psychiatric Hospital was scheduled to be completed in 2021 and serve 200 adults, an increase of 50 beds from the existing facility.
Concerns about staffing and accessibility to communities caused state officials to pause the Caro Center Reconstruction project in March 2019 to allow for an outside consultant to review the project and recommend next steps to best meet the needs of Michigan’s citizens. Myers & Stauffer was tasked with analyzing the process which led to plans for a new Caro hospital, to engage in fact finding and to support further decision-making. A copy of Myers & Stauffer’s final report is available online.