Sunday, July 14, 2024

ECU Health signs joint venture for $65M behavioral health hospital

ECU Health is joining with Acadia Healthcare for a $65 million, 144-bed behavioral health hospital in Greenville, less than a mile from ECU Health Medical Center.

Publicly traded Franklin, Tenn.-based Acadia is the largest company that focuses exclusively on behavioral health, says ECU Health CEO Michael Waldrum. It operates 238 facilities in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

The hospital is slated to open in 2025, pending approval by regulators.

“There is no health without mental health,” Dr. Syed A. Saeed, an ECU Health psychiatrist, said at a press conference. More than half of North Carolinians with a psychiatric disorder do not receive treatment, he said.

Acadia is paying for the building and will be the majority owner and managing entity, ECU officials said in a response to questions. “ECU Health will provide the property, beds and providers. Any financial outcomes for the new hospital will be shared between the two parties.”

The hospital will include 24 inpatient beds for children and adolescents with mental health needs. These beds will be the first of their kind in ECU Health’s 29-county service area. The company says it will add an unspecified number of new jobs.

“This hospital will be a tremendous resource for our patients and our state, and we’re thrilled to bring a partner and a national leader like Acadia to eastern North Carolina,” Waldrum said in a release.  “Acadia has an established track record of providing high-quality, compassionate care in communities across the country.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly one in five North Carolinians were experiencing a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder, according to a report from the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use.

The project needs approval under the state’s Certificate of Need process, which oversees development of new medical offices. ECU Health says it will transfer 80 existing operational behavioral health beds and 57 licensed non-operational ones to be part of the 144-bed hospital. (It is applying for seven new beds.

ECU Health serves more than 1.4 million people in 29 counties. The not-for-profit system has 13,000 team members, nine hospitals and a physician group of more than 1,100 providers. It rebranded from Vidant Health earlier this year through a partnership with East Carolina University.

Acadia’s behavioral health facilities include about 10,600 beds. The company employs more than 22,000 people. It is publicly traded with revenue of $2.3 billion last year and a market value of $7 billion after its stock more than quadrupled since March 2020. CEO Chris Hunter is a UNC Chapel Hill graduate.

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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