Highland Hospital anticipates opening forensic unit Dec. 1
10/11/2013 - The Exponent Telegram. By Jim Davis.
With the opening of the forensic unit fast approaching, Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is ready to start hiring additional staff.
The 55-bed forensic unit, which will house criminally insane patients, is scheduled to open Dec. 1, Chief Operating Officer Eric Kennedy said.
“We anticipate getting a memorandum of understanding signed with the state this month,” Kennedy said. “That will allow them to transfer forensic patients, and we’ll be able to treat them.”
Inspectors with both the state Fire Marshal’s Office and state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification are scheduled to do a final walk-through Nov. 19, Kennedy said.
"We anticipate having the green light from them to occupy the space around Nov. 19,” he added.
With the Dec. 1 opening date looming, the mental health provider will have a job fair from 3-7 p.m. Monday at the hospital.
The hospital — which recently received its license to operate — is looking for registered nurses, nurse managers and behavioral health technicians. Applicants should bring resumes as interviews may be done on site.
“The forensic unit will get full quickly, and we need to make sure we have enough staff,” Kennedy said. “We believe we have an immediate need for about 30 direct-care staff.
“We’ll probably need to add another five to six clerical staff and another three to four clinical staff,” Kennedy said.
A full-time psychiatrist has been hired for the unit and will start Dec. 1, Kennedy added.
Jim Dissen, president and CEO of Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, said the plan is to have a trained staff on board once the forensic unit opens.
“We were anticipating that construction was going to be a little ahead of schedule,” Dissen said. “Rather than waiting, we thought we would have this job fair.
“Hopefully we can find some experienced, qualified folks from the Clarksburg and surrounding areas to fill the positions,” Dissen added.
The children’s and adolescents’ unit has been open since Aug. 19, and more than 70 employees are working in that section.
Another adult unit for patients with a dual diagnosis of mental and substance-abuse issues is scheduled to open the start of next year, Kennedy said.
“We’re probably going to look at that in January after we’ve admitted the forensic patients and had a few weeks under our belt taking care of them,” Kennedy said.
The mental health provider plans to employ about 270 once all units are up and running.
Highland also has a hospital in Charleston.