Leaders gathered at the end of May to celebrate the beginning of construction on Norman Regional’s new 48-bed behavioral health hospital. Photo provided

by Bobby Anderson – Staff Writer

A huge gap in mental health services is about to be reduced upon completion of Norman Regional Health System’s new 48-bed hospital.
Construction on the project officially began in March but hospital leaders gathered in late May for the official groundbreaking ceremony.
The hospital is set to open in early 2024 and will begin to hire staff including additional nurses prior to completion.
Norman Regional and Oceans Healthcare entered into a partnership in 2021 to expand access to behavioral health services in south central Oklahoma through the construction of a new, state-of-the-art behavioral health hospital.
“The selection of a partner who shares our commitment to improving access to quality behavioral health services is an important milestone in the implementation of our Inspire Health plan to transform the delivery of care in our communities,” said Richie Splitt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norman Regional Health System. “Partnering with Oceans Healthcare will allow us to leverage their expertise in the delivery of behavioral healthcare and bring important new resources to meet growing demand for mental health support.”
The 48-bed hospital will be named Behavioral Health Porter Village and will more than double Norman Regional Health System’s current inpatient capacity for behavioral health patients and add new services, including an intensive outpatient program and a dedicated geriatric behavioral health unit.
The freestanding hospital, which is expected to open in 2024 on the Norman Regional Hospital campus, Porter location, will replace the existing 20-bed behavioral health unit inside the current hospital.
The behavioral health center will be one of the first facilities constructed on the new Porter Health Village campus and will augment a broad range of health and wellness services planned for that location, including the addition of a senior wellness center.
Mental health is increasingly in the national spotlight as rates of depression, anxiety and substance abuse have risen following the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report, Oklahoma ranks 45th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for the highest prevalence of mental illness in adults and lowest rates of access to care.
“Increasing access to mental health treatment and care is critical to Oklahoma becoming a top 10 state for behavioral health. The ODMHSAS welcomes the additional broad range of treatment options to help better serve Oklahomans experiencing emotional distress,” said Carrie Slatton-Hodges, Commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Those working in healthcare – especially acute care settings – understand there are often few available inpatient resources for patients.
Long hold times – up to several days – in ERs for patients needing inpatient placement are common.
Farhan Jawed, MD, oversees Norman Regional’s Behavioral Medicine Services.
“As a psychiatrist, I see firsthand the need for mental health services in our community,” Jawed said. “I can’t wait to expand and increase the number of patients we are able to treat. This new freestanding center will be life changing for many members of our community.”
Norman Regional selected Oceans Healthcare after a thorough review of potential partners at the state and national level.
A nationally recognized provider of behavioral health services, Oceans Healthcare specializes in bringing mental health treatment options to underserved communities and consistently achieves industry-leading performance metrics on national quality and safety measures.
The company currently operates 33 locations, including 23 inpatient hospital campuses, across three states and has forged similar partnerships with leading health systems including Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport, Louisiana, and CHRISTUS Spohn Health System in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“Across the country, the need for mental health services is increasing and few communities have the resources they need to meet that demand,” said Stuart Archer, Chief Executive Officer of Oceans Healthcare. “We are honored to partner with a respected institution such as Norman Regional Health System to expand access to behavioral health care and, ultimately, help fulfill their vision of making the communities they serve stronger and healthier.”
In addition to Behavioral Health Porter Village, Norman Regional will continue to provide outpatient behavioral health services at Norman Regional Moore, including an outpatient counseling center and a senior counseling center.
For more information about Norman Regional Health System, visit: https://www.normanregional.com/