House approves new psych hospital for Woodbury

Prairie St. John's proposed hospital
Prairie St. John's proposed specialty psychiatric hospital in Woodbury.
Illustration courtesy of Prairie St. John's

(AP) - The Minnesota House is on the record with overwhelming support for a proposed children's psychiatric hospital in Woodbury, but Senate approval is iffy.

The House voted 125-8 on Wednesday, with lawmakers grieving the loss the children to suicide for those who must go out of state for mental health treatment.

The House bill lifts a state restriction on the construction of hospitals so that Prairie St. John's can build the 66-bed facility.

Rep. Marsha Swails, DFL-Woodbury, says she authored the bill because of an extreme shortage of beds for children in crisis in the metro area.

Prairie originally proposed a 144-bed hospital that would provide psychiatric and substance abuse services to children and adults, but the state Health Department determined it wasn't in the public interest.

It's not clear if the Senate will take up the psychiatric hospital proposal before the current session ends.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)