Governor and Mayor applaud new Columbia hospital
COLUMBIA - Hundreds of people gathered for the grand opening of CenterPointe Hospital on International Drive Thursday.
Governor Mike Parson and Mayor Brian Treece were among those who celebrated the facility with a ribbon cutting.
"We're recruiting nurses and physicians. When we're fully employed we'll be somewhere between 140 and 150 new jobs," Chief Executive Officer Buddy Turner said.
The new hospital will be the largest private provider of behavioral health in Missouri, according to Turner. It will provide both mental health and substance abuse services problem for adolescents and adults.
"I think anytime you're putting 150 people to work that's going to help the economy here. And then for a business to be here and all the sub-contractors that will be involved in something like CenterPointe and the services they've got to provide will be a big boost to here in Columbia and also to the state of Missouri," Parson said.
Treece noted the positive long-term effects the facility will bring.
"The people that this facility is designed to treat are going to help them get back to work," he said. "We often know that mental health care is a major impediment to getting a job and keeping a job, and being able to work through these issues is going to allow others to get back in the workforce sooner. It has a tremendous economic impact to our community."
Parson said it will not only help families in Columbia, but across the state of Missouri, where there is a shortage of access to mental health care.
"For the patients and families that will be here to have this here locally it will be a great resource for them," he said. "And then I think not only just here in this area but through the entire state there will be other people utilizing this facility."
Treece said Columbia has a low unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, so it has a shortage of workers.
"We're looking for workers, we're looking for employees. If mental health is barrier to someone getting a job or keeping a job, facilities like this help people get back into the workforce quicker and that's very important," he said.
Treece also said CenterPointe will help grow the north side of Columbia in particular.
"Right across the street will be the Molly Bowden North Police Precinct, and when it is completed this is really going to provide an important anchor for the city of Columbia, for both law enforcement response, mental health care needs, a grocery store is already here, and to really help develop the north side of Columbia through not only these facilities but the jobs they create and the stability of a police station here," he said.
Parson said he was proud to be at the event and showcase the facility that will be helping people and their families.
"I think anytime we're dealing with the mental health issues of this state from the opioid crisis that we have, how important these facilities are really going to be to make Missouri better," he said. "It's just a good day for Missouri."