Tulsa-Based Parkside Psychiatric Hospital Expands Adolescent Care with $2.4 M Center

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Parkside Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic will seek bids today for construction of a $2.4 million addition to its adolescent care facility, the hospital's first expansion in more than two decades.

Steve Schaumburg, Parkside director of business development, noted the hospital now employs a staff of 160 to manage operations over three buildings around 12th Street and Trenton. This addition should add another 30 workers, even as it increases Parkside's 48- bed capacity by 50 percent.

That should help the operation meet a troubling increase in demand.

From January 1 to May 31 this year, our facility had no available beds for kids needing services on 140 out of 151 days, Schaumburg said.

Over that last 14 months, he said the hospital - which also treats adults - received requests for adolescent care that more than doubled its capacity.

Over that period there were 367 children referred elsewhere because we were full, he said.

While Tulsa supports three other facilities offering adolescent mental health care, Schaumburg expects they too faced demand beyond their capacity. Kathryn Bishop, program director of the Tulsa Center for Adolescent Treatment at Parkside, said this was a regional problem that has led patients to their organization not just from Tulsa or northeastern Oklahoma, but from Ardmore, Lawton, western prairie communities, Arkansas and Texas.

We wouldn't be doing this expansion if it wouldn't be self- supporting, said Schaumburg, but the reality is, they wouldn't be doing this if there wasn't demand.

The center serves the long-term needs of children ages 11-17 who suffer from mental illness and related disorders. Bishop said the majority involve depression, bipolar disorder, or mood disorder.

We treat just about every diagnosis you can imagine, said Bishop, who has been with the hospital for four years. I think we have a good reputation for success with the kids.

A lot of our kids have been traumatized and abused, she noted, discussing the difficulties of their work. You listen to their stories, and it's hard for me to hear their stories, but if you listen to them, and you can help them, then it's so rewarding.

More than half of these adolescents reside in homes with a total household income below $10,000 a year. More than 85 percent are on Medicaid.

Schaumburg expects to receive contractor bids in early August in hopes of choosing a builder to start construction this fall. That should allow for completion of the 15,000-square-foot addition early next year. …