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New mental health unit opens at Earl K. Long

Monday, August 2, 2010 - 6:31pm

A new behavioral health unit opens its doors at a hospital that will close in several years. Earl K. Long is slated to shut down by 2013, but the charity hospital is still making additions. The 20-bed mental health unit will serve as an emergency department for people suffering from mental illness or addiction.

Doctors say the reasoning is simple. The community needs this facility. "Post-Katrina we had an influx of mental health patients in the area that needed care that could not be provided in the community accurately," says CEO of LSU hospitals at Earl K. Long, Kathy Viator.

The emergency room at Earl K. Long could use the extra beds. On any given day, the ER has 6 to 12 beds taken up by people suffering with behavioral health problems.

Doctors say the facility will hopefully stand on its own. It doesn't necessarily need to be affiliated with a hospital to run.

The 1.4 million dollar Mental Health Emergency Room Extension will open next month.

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