By Sarah Whitman
Morton Plant North Bay Hospital and Bay Care Behavioral Health will open a new facility this summer in Land O’ Lakes. The Morton Plant North Bay Hospital Recovery Center, an in-patient psychiatric treatment center for children, will begin services July 1 at 21808 SR 54. The new 10-bed hospital will offer long-term mental health care to youth ages 5 to 17.
“The facility is the first of its kind in Pasco County,” said Beth Hardy, media representative for the hospital. “Now children who require hospitalization will not have to travel out of the county. This will make it much easier on families.”
The 45,000 square foot building formerly housed Gulf and Lake Academy, a residential facility for non-violent female juvenile offenders. Gulf and Lake moved to two new locations in Pinellas County. They no longer offer services in Land O’ Lakes.
Morton Plant is leasing the Land O’ Lakes building and has made multiple renovations, transforming the facility to a hospital. Clinical treatment will coincide with behavioral counseling such as group therapy in a more residential setting. The facility will include a full-service kitchen, main recreational living areas and private rooms.
“The entire facility has been renovated to meet hospital base standards,” said Stephanie Santiere, media representative for Bay Care.
Morton Plant has treated patients with mental illness for more than 20 years and currently treats children at its main campus in Clearwater. Inpatient conditions include substance abuse problems, depression and psychosis. Plans for an independent psychiatric facility have been ongoing.
In April 2008, Morton Plant filed three applications for a psychiatric facility with a total of 70 beds including 10 child inpatient beds. In June 2008, the state denied the application and approved a competing plan by Ten Broeck Tampa that did not specify plans for children’s beds. Ten Broeck’s plan was to open a 40-bed psychiatric facility on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Plans have not yet been finalized.
In December 2008, the state approved Morton Plant’s application for the 10 child inpatient psychiatric beds as an exception to the original application’s denial.
Morton Plant made plans to open the Land O’ Lakes facility shortly after, confirming the decision in August 2009. The new hospital will be modeled after and supported by the comprehensive services and infrastructure available within Morton Plant’s main campus. Susan Wright will be director of the new facility.
“The goal for the new facility is to provide quality mental health care to children and adolescents in the community,” Santiere said. “As the only hospital-based children’s mental health facility in Pasco County, we hope to make receiving high-quality treatment easier and more convenient for children and their families.”
For information on Morton Plant North Bay Hospital Recovery Center, visit www.mortonplant.com or call (727) 462-7000.