Benton County puts out request for proposal for crisis recovery center

KENNEWICK, Wash. — “It seems like nothing’s happening, nothing’s happening, and then all the sudden it’s just everything’s going to go at once,” Deputy County Administrator with Benton County Matt Rasmussen said.

Years in the making, the Behavioral Health Crisis Recovery Center still has a way to go.

But, opening up the request for proposal process or ‘RFP’ Rasmussen said, is a milestone worth celebrating.

“It’s great to hear from some of the providers that are interested, you’re always worried putting out a request that no one’s going to respond so that’s great news,” Matt said applications are due by December 9th at 3 PM.

It’s reassuring especially as our nation experiences a mental health workforce shortage.

Rasmussen laid out what will be required for the provider who will run the recovery center, and its separate mental health inpatient care campus.

“A crisis stabilization unit, that’s where people come in who are experiencing a mental health of SUD crisis that’s where they can get stabilized and referred out to long term care and treatment for that. It’ll also have a secure withdrawal facility that’s specifically to the SUD side, and then we are also going to have a longer term residential detoxification unit that’s the long term care – after they get stabilized,” he explained.

Matt said they also want to have a 23-hour observation unit, where someone doesn’t need a full 24 hour stay at the crisis recovery center.

“So that’s just a quick thing; they just need to calm down they need to talk to somebody they can come in, get assessed get some quick treatment then they’re either released or referred to a longer term program,” he said.

This week, the county also closed on the former Trios Hospital Birth Center at 900 South Auburn Street in Kennewick, formerly the Kennewick General Hospital.

“So, that gives us some space to start looking at providing services there, we’re having some discussions about transitional housing programs and youth services,” Matt said.

When it comes to the KGH building, there is a slight catch.

When the county was going through negotiations with Lifepoint Health, the previous owner, stipulated that BHCRC would not let mental health inpatient care stays go beyond three days. Rasmussen said that’s because mental health inpatient care is a part of Lifepoint’s portfolio.

“There’s challenges with that because there’s people who need to be there longer than 72 hours and currently state law is 5 days – so we started looking for another piece of property, we’re wrapping up negotiations on that,” according to the RFP document, the second location is about a mile away from 900 South Auburn Street.

Rasmussen said they should be able to announce where the inpatient mental health care campus will be, next Tuesday.

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