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Proposed mental health facility clears another hurdle in Legislature

A 144-bed inpatient mental health facility proposed to be built in Woodbury cleared another hurdle at the state Legislature last Tuesday.

Fargo, N.D.-based Prairie St. John's wants to construct a psychiatric hospital in Woodbury, but cannot do so unless it gets approval from the Legislature. The proposed facility got one step closer March 11 after a state House committee voted to support Prairie St. John's in its endeavor.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted 9-8 in favor of the proposed facility one week after the Minnesota Department of Health released a report that concluded the Twin Cities does not need additional beds for mental health care. The same day, the MDH report was released a subcommittee of the Health and Human Services committee voted to support the facility.

Prairie St. John's officials said last week they were pleased with the support the facility received so far in the House. The issue could come to a full floor vote later this week.

"We again appreciate the support of the lawmakers who understand that our mental health system is not working for too many Minnesotans," said Dr. Stephen Setterberg, a co-founder of Prairie St. John's.

Because of a moratorium on new hospitals in the Twin Cities, Prairie St. John's must get legislative approval before it can begin construction on the planned facility.

Rep. Marsha Swails (DFL-Woodbury) is chief author of the bill to support the proposed facility.

The city of Woodbury has stated its support for the proposed facility, which would be constructed in the city's medical campus district near Woodwinds Health Campus.