Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – Nearly a year after paperwork was filed with the state, an inpatient youth psychiatric center has gotten a green light, according to Jill Midkiff with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The Purchase Youth Village will be housed in the former Marshall County Hospital building. Plans had originally called for a 48-bed residential facility, but have been modified for 24-beds according to the terms of the Certificate of Need. It will look to create a home-like atmosphere with around the clock treatment for patients ages 6 to 21. Healthcare professionals will provide healing for youth with emotional disabilities, as well as persistent physical behavior or intellectual disabilities.
PRTFs serve as a step-down from psychiatric hospitalization. They are designed to help children who need long-term and a more highly structured environment than they typically receive in family and other community-based alternatives.
“Less restrictive and more homelike than hospitals, the PRTF serves children who are transitioning from hospitals, but are not ready for the demands of living at home or in foster care,” according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
According to the Cabinet, about 125 Kentucky children and adolescents are in out-of-state placements each year. In 2008, 97 Kentucky children were placed in out-of-state facilities after being diagnosed with psychosexual disorders. Another 27 were placed after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
For youth seeking treatment, their options are limited to a few facilities spread out across the state. That can mean long commutes and longer waits for those in need of assistance.
Purchase Youth Village would give families an option closer to home. Marshall County Family Court Judge Rob Mattingly said that could make the healing process easier for juveniles coming through his court.
“For families, I think it will be a benefit,” Mattingly said. “For what happens in family court, a lot of times I will have to remove a child for nothing the family or the child have done, but for something the child is going through.”
Mattingly said in cases where a juvenile has been physically or sexually abused, children are referred to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for placement in dependant care. Sometimes, that can mean several hundreds of miles between treatment facilities and supportive families.
According to the terms in the certificate of need, Purchase Youth Village’s parent company– SWIS Purchase, LLC, of Louisville– has agreed to a $100,000 lease of the 50,000 square foot former Marshall County Hospital building. The site, located at 503 George McClain Drive, has been vacant since March 2009 when the hospital relocated to its new facility on Old Symsonia Road. MRBS Development LLC will maintain ownership of the former hospital building.
Dr. M. Wasim Sajid, who currently serves as medical director with Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health Center in Radcliff, will provide expertise for the start-up of Purchase Youth Village.
County Judge Executive Mike Miller said the services could also be an economic shot in the arm with new job creation. Estimates are Purchase Youth Village will create 50 new jobs, mostly licensed positions. Plans call for one site director, four therapists, four registered nurses, seven licensed practical nurses and more than two dozen mental health technicians, in addition to dietary and housekeeping positions.
“From what I understand, they would employ between 40 and 50 people,” Miller said. “I see it as a positive. Any time we can get that many jobs it’s good for our community.”