Psychiatric hospital with 105 beds proposed in Tacoma near 19th and Proctor

A health care company has proposed building a 105-bed psychiatric hospital in Tacoma not far from a newly opened facility it competed to build a few years ago.

Signature Healthcare Services LLC is back with a proposal with fewer beds than last go-around when it proposed a 174-bed hospital. In 2016, the company competed with Alliance for South Sound Health to launch a new mental health facility in the city to address a severe shortage of beds for those patients.

The project did not receive a Certificate of Need from Washington’s Department of Health. The certificate instead was issued to the alliance, which is comprised of MultiCare and CHI Franciscan.

Signature later appealed that decision. The case ended in April 2018 when Signature and the alliance told the court they had reached a settlement.

The News Tribune has filed a public disclosure request seeking a copy of the settlement agreement.

Signature’s proposed site for its Tacoma Behavioral Healthcare Hospital on the south side of South 19th Street at South Proctor Street is mere blocks west of the newly built Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital, which opened May 7.

According to information listed on the public hearing notice, Signature applied with the city in November for a site rezone, conditional use permit and other necessary approvals for the hospital. The project would require a critical areas report, traffic impact analysis and hydrology report.

An entry on Tacoma’s online land use permit site describes the project as an acute care psychiatric hospital comprising approximately 83,300 square feet that would provide both in-patient facilities and outpatient services.

According to representatives for the city’s Planning and Development Services, the building permit review phase cannot be completed until there is a final decision on the land-use application, if approved, and after staff has verified that the building permits comply with the land-use decision.

A state Department of Health representative, in response to questions this week, told The News Tribune via email: “There is an intent to issue a certificate of need,” pending the project’s environmental work.

The certificate is valid for two years, and the project must begin during that 2-year span, with the possibility of a six-month extension if necessary, according to the “intent to issue” letter sent to Signature on May 7, 2018.

Once the certificate of need is issued, and permits issued, the project can begin construction.

Environmental review comments are due by 5 p.m. May 31 and can be submitted to Shanta Frantz, senior planner, via mail: 747 Market St, Room 345; via email: sfrantz@cityoftacoma.org; or via phone: (253) 591-5388.

A public hearing is set for 9 a.m. July 18 at City Council chambers, 747 Market St., Tacoma.