Officials at Highland Hospital, Charleston, W.Va., say the mental health center's board of directors has agreed to sell its Charleston facilities to Tennessee-based behavioral healthcare company Acadia Healthcare Co.
News media outlets report that Cynthia Persily, president and CEO of the Highland Hospital Association, said Acadia has issued a letter of intent to buy Highland. Persily says the two companies will now work toward a finalized agreement, which Highland hopes to have in place by Sept. 30.
Franklin, Tenn.-based Acadia operates 587 behavioral health care facilities in 39 states, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico. Its purchase of Highland would include Highland's acute psychiatric hospital in Kanawha City, which has 80 acute-care beds and includes a 24-bed psychiatric residential treatment facility for children and adolescents.
The sale also would include Highland Health Center, a 16-bed residential treatment and detoxification program, and Process Strategies, an outpatient provider with integrated behavioral health care, primary care and pharmacy services.
Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is not part of the transaction. It is a separate company.
Acadia currently operates outpatient comprehensive treatment centers in West Virginia in Clarksburg, Beaver, Huntington, Parkersburg, Triadelphia, Williamson and Charleston, according to its website.
"Highland has recognized for some time that health care is constantly changing," Persily said Friday. "We must adapt to those changes to continue to provide high-quality behavioral health care services to our community."
Persily said those changes have made it difficult for Highland to begin paying off the $28 million debt it took on in 2011 when it constructed its new building.
"In the last few years, the financial aspects of health care have changed so much, due to factors like the Affordable Care Act, the expansion of managed care in West Virginia Medicaid and, certainly, West Virginia's economy," she said.
Another factor that has kept Highland from maximizing its capacity in recent years is that Highland is barred from treating Medicaid recipients between the ages of 21 and 64, Persily said. Highland treated adult Medicaid patients for a time after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but has not been allowed to do so since the demonstration period closed.
"We can no longer care for adults with Medicaid, and that has severely limited our ability to admit adults who have Medicaid coverage," she said.