The threat of bad weather moved a scheduled ground-breaking for Sana Behavioral Health Hospital-Bullhead City to under a protective canopy at nearby Sunridge Village on Wednesday. From left are Bullhead City Council Member Kathy Bruck, City Manager Toby Cotter, Vice Mayor Tami Ring, Ron Stewart, president of developer RSC International, Inc., Council Member Annette Wegmann and Kirk Olsen, partner in ERH Health Care/Sana Behavioral Health.

BULLHEAD CITY — Kirk Olsen says it makes sense from every side to locate a geriatric-psychiatric hospital in Bullhead City.

“Twenty-five percent of all seniors have some type of behavioral health issues,” said Olsen, partner in Sana Behavioral Health, which plans to build and operate a 24-bed in-patient facility near Sunridge Village in the northern part of Bullhead City.

Noting that Bullhead City has an aging population and lacks geri-psych facilities, he added: “You are very underserved in this area.”

Sana Behavioral Health Hospital-

Bullhead City hopes to change that sometime in 2019. A ground-breaking ceremony for the new facility was altered — no ground was broken because of the threat of bad weather — but Sana, city officials and members of the business community gathered nonetheless to celebrate the occasion.

“We gave an aging population,” said Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter, “and it’s important that we have the facilities” to serve that population.

Tom Salerno, chief executive officer of Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, called Sana Behavioral Health “a very, very necessary asset that they’re bringing to town” and pledged the hospital’s support and cooperation with the new facility.

“We are very committed to this project,” he said.

Vice Mayor Tami Ring said the new facility will be a welcome addition “as we continue to grow... and grow older.”

Olsen said the Bullhead City location will be the fourth geri-psych facility to be operated by Sana. The nearest one is in Las Vegas.

The hospital will be staffed 24 hours a day and will be for patients age 50 and older. Olsen said most patient stays will be between two and 11 days.

Stewart said the licensed geriatric psychological hospital is expected to employ 50 full-time positions as well as a number of part-time positions. He said it is expected to generate about

$4 million a year to the local economy.

Stewart also said he and Olsen were appreciative of the city staff for helping make the project possible.

“I will do a project in Bullhead any day,” Stewart said. “Such a great experience we’ve had (with city staff).”

Earth-moving could begin as early as August, Stewart said. Olsen said Sana anticipates opening the facility sometime in the summer of 2019.

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