By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Parkland Medical Center hopes a new project will offer more opportunities to serve patients with behavioral health services.
The Derry hospital on Birch Street is planning a 7,000-square-foot addition to its existing building to provide an internal, 14-bed behavioral health wing, something Parkland officials say is in great need in the state.
With waiting times in emergency rooms always a focus, adding space to Parkland will help serve that need on a local level.
“This will help keep patients in house,” Parkland CEO Chris Accashian said.”We’ll get them upstairs right away.”
He said the new area will be a two-story addition to the building and will provide adult voluntary services that can be done in Derry, rather than sending patients to other facilities in the region.
Treatment can begin that much sooner, he said.
The $3 million project will mean hiring approximately 20 new staff members, including nurses and social workers, Accashian said.
It’s an exciting prospect, he said, to make Parkland more of a regional center, offering a long list of services.
Parkland’s Chief Operating Officer Jeff Scionti said there is a renewed interest in offering behavioral health services. Right now, Parkland works closely with Center for Life Management and other facilities to make sure patients get the services they need.
Having a program at Parkland would also ease the time it takes to find the right services and placement for a patient. Right now, the majority of Parkland’s referrals go to Elliot Hospital, but other placements are also made at Hampstead Hospital or in Portsmouth.
“It’s a collaborative effort so patients get the care they need,” Accashion said.
Parkland officials have been working with local fire officials on the plan, and how it will be constructed on the hospital property.
Scionti said contractor bids are going out and Parkland hopes to officially break ground on the new addition later this spring.
Once construction begins, the timeline could bring the new space online by January of next year.
In addition to the new wing, Parkland will get other upgrades, including improvements to the main lobby area.
Officials said they are looking forward to what lies ahead.
“It will be nice to see the growth with something so clearly needed,” Accashian said.
The plan will come before the Derry Planning Board at a meeting April 2 as the official site review and approval process begins.