The Bulletin Board

DHHS commissioner says two behavioral health hospitals are in the works

By: - January 21, 2022 3:19 pm
Lori Shibinette at a lectern

Lori Shibinette, the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, said two behavioral health hospitals are in development. (Ethan DeWitt | New Hampshire Bulletin)

HCA Healthcare’s proposed 96-bed behavioral health hospital in New Hampshire is one of two in development, Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Shibinette told lawmakers Friday.

The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved her request to provide HCA Healthcare and Portsmouth Regional Hospital $15 million in federal pandemic aid to help with construction costs. Shibinette said she will be back with a request to provide a nonprofit $15 million to build a similarly sized hospital in the state.

She did not identify the nonprofit or say when it is expected to open. The department’s spokesman, Jake Leon, did not return a message. 

In her written request to the fiscal committee, Shibinette said HCA Healthcare and Portsmouth Regional Hospital would build their new hospital in Epping. Dean Carucci, CEO of the hospital, said Friday Epping is one of several locations they are considering. He said they have decided not to seek property-tax relief, although that was their plan in documents provided to the committee last week.

The state has seen unprecedented demand for mental health services during the pandemic and has had too few inpatient beds for the adults and children who need them. 

There were 19 adults and five children waiting in emergency rooms for a bed Friday. 

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.