Updated: 9:18 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 | Posted: 9:16 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011

Mental hospital will open soon

Access Hospital Dayton plans to open at the old Twin Valley hospital site.

By Ben Sutherly

Staff Writer

DAYTON — A co-owner of the former Twin Valley state mental hospital plans to reopen it as a for-profit psychiatric hospital in late September or early October.

Dr. John Johnson said he received a letter Thursday from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services clarifying he does not need a waiver for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, provided he does not admit his own patients to the facility, now named Access Hospital Dayton. That means the hospital can bill for care provided to Medicare patients, but only for care to Medicaid patients under 21 and over 64.

Johnson in May said he wouldn’t be able to accept Medicaid and Medicare patients at Access Hospital Dayton without being exempt from a provision in the federal health care overhaul. That provision bans physician-owned hospitals that don’t have Medicare provider agreements by the end of 2010 — hospitals like Access Hospital Dayton — from receiving federal reimbursement for patient services.

Now that Johnson has that clarification, he plans to move forward with opening a 28-bed unit at Access Hospital Dayton the week of Sept. 26 or Oct. 3. He said he hopes to expand the hospital to 110 beds within a year. The hospital would need 150 employees to staff and support that many beds, he said.

“I don’t want to delay any further,” said Johnson, who bought the facility in January for $1.7 million. Johnson is a psychiatrist who has practiced in Ohio since 1995.

While it will not be able to care for forensic patients — mentally ill patients who have cycled through the criminal justice system — Access Hospital Dayton’s ability to accept Medicare and some Medicaid patients would provide a measure of relief for Montgomery County’s frayed mental health safety net.

Within two years of Twin Valley’s closing in 2008, the county’s six nonprofit hospitals saw a 13 percent increase in visits for mental and behavioral health problems. Those hospitals expect another 10 percent increase this year, in part because of the troubles of a Riverside provider of outpatient mental health services, ATS Behavioral Health.

As a free-standing psychiatric hospital, Access Hospital Dayton is not able to bill for care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries who are 21 to 64 years old. Medicaid has not paid for such services since the federal program’s inception in 1965 due to the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion.

The exclusion bans federal payments for medically necessary inpatient care for Medicaid beneficiaries ages 21 to 64 who receive care in “institutions for mental disease,” defined as a hospital of more than 16 beds devoted primarily to caring for those who have mental or behavioral health problems. The exclusion dates back to a time when states and counties housed large numbers of people with severe mental illness at no cost to the federal government.

Since then, many of those institutions have closed, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness is calling for an end to the exclusion.

Johnson hopes to hire nurses, mental health counselors, physicians and mental health technicians in coming weeks. Those wishing to apply for jobs may email resumes to Access Hospital Dayton at info@accesshospital.net, or may submit them by mail to the hospital at 2611 Wayne Ave., Dayton 45420-1833.

Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7457 or bsutherly @DaytonDailyNews.com.


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