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Texas to Launch Seven New Psychiatric Hospital Projects

You are currently viewing Texas to Launch Seven New Psychiatric Hospital Projects
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This year, Texas is starting seven new psychiatric hospital projects to address the mental health crisis. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is funding these projects with $1.5 billion, which lawmakers approved in 2023 to expand, renovate, and build new facilities. The state already owns and operates nine hospitals and one residential treatment center for youth.

Governor Greg Abbott announced these plans, emphasizing the importance of expanding and modernizing mental health facilities across Texas.

He stated that these new projects would ensure Texans dealing with mental health issues have access to professionals and high-quality treatment.

A large portion of the funds will go towards constructing the new Panhandle State Hospital in Amarillo and the Lubbock Psychiatric Center, as well as building a 250-bed replacement for the Terrell State Hospital and a 200-bed replacement for the North Texas State Hospital in Wichita Falls.

Additionally, about $120 million will be used to add a 50-bed maximum-security unit at the Rio Grande State Center in Harlingen, and $15 million will be allocated for a 40-bed maximum-security unit at the San Antonio State Hospital. The state also plans to purchase land to expand the El Paso Psychiatric Center by 50 non-maximum-security beds.

State hospitals primarily treat forensic patients—those transferred from county jails or the state prison system because they were deemed incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of insanity. In 2023, over 60% of adults treated in state hospitals came from the criminal justice system.

In the past two decades, Texas has seen a 38% increase in people found incompetent to stand trial.

Last year, over 2,300 individuals waited in county jails, often for months or longer, for the intensive therapy and medication only available in state psychiatric hospitals.

In response to concerns from county jail officials, state lawmakers have initiated substantial funding to repair or build new psychiatric facilities. Since 2017, $2.5 billion has been allocated to modernize and expand inpatient psychiatric care in Texas. New hospitals in Austin and San Antonio have already had their grand openings and are expected to be operational by this summer.

Scott Schalchlin, Deputy Executive Commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Health and Specialty Care System, expressed pride in the transformation of the state hospital system, highlighting the positive impact these projects will have on people’s lives across the state.

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