Arizona House OKs private expansion of state mental hospital

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The Arizona House has approved a plan to lease parts of the state mental hospital in Phoenix and its 93-acre grounds to private providers.
Wednesday's vote on House Bill 2043 was unanimous, with all 60 House members voting for the measure. It now moves to the Senate.
Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ told lawmakers on the House Health Committee last month that her department wants to build a Center for Psychiatric Excellence on hospital grounds.
The private-public partnerships could include outpatient behavioral health services, urgent psychiatric and an emergency room, 24-hour holds for observation and stabilization and rooms for short stays for adult inpatient acute psychiatric services.
Private providers could bid to use empty hospital wards, renovate and use vacant buildings or build new facilities.