River Vista Behavioral Health Hospital: Construction Progresses amid Pandemic

Need for behavioral healthcare increases as local and national numbers rise

Construction workers shaking hands atop final beam
Construction workers successfully and safely place the final steel beam atop the new River Vista Behavioral Health.

Madera, CA, September 29, 2021 — As the need for behavioral healthcare continues to increase in the region, Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS), in collaboration with partner Valley Children’s Healthcare, celebrated the traditional ‘beam topping’ to mark an important milestone in the construction of this highly anticipated behavioral health facility. The new River Vista Behavioral Health hospital, located at 40886 Goodwin Way in Madera, is on track to open in early 2023.

When fully opened, the new River Vista Behavioral Health will provide a full continuum of inpatient services, including units to serve children and adolescents. Specialty programs for adults with co-occurring behavioral health and substance use issues will be offered to meet the unique needs of this patient population. In addition, the facility will offer robust outpatient programs to address the most prevalent behavioral health concerns, including child, adolescent and family counseling; and treatment for depression, anxiety disorders and other common behavioral health issues.

Valley Children’s Healthcare and UHS are also working to deliver a new psychiatric residency program, as well as telepsychiatry services for children served by the Valley Children’s network of care. UHS subsidiary HealthLinkNow will initiate a telepsychiatry services pilot in October at one of Valley Children’s primary care practices in Fresno, before expanding to the other practices in the healthcare network and then to other pediatric practices in our service area.

“As our nation faces compounding crises, the need for high-quality mental healthcare is on the rise, as are suicide rates and calls for help,” said Mike Zauner, Group Director, Behavioral Health, UHS. “It is exciting to partner with Valley Children’s Healthcare to bring this new facility to this region. We recognize Valley Children’s shares our mission and vision to provide patients and their loved ones with compassionate behavioral healthcare, services and support. We look forward to reintroducing hope and healthy therapeutic living to patients and their families.”

Located along the bluffs overlooking the San Joaquin River, the new River Vista Behavioral Health will feature:

  • 128 beds in a new state-of-the-art building spanning 81,600 square feet, including 24 beds dedicated specifically for children ages 5-17;
  • therapeutic environments that incorporate calming color tones, wall décor and natural light throughout the building design;
  • an indoor gymnasium and safe outdoor wellness courtyards for recreation; and
  • programming to serve adolescents, adults and older adults; and intensive day programs and outpatient care.
Executives signing final beam
L to R: Todd Suntrapak, President and CEO, Valley Children’s Healthcare and Mike Zauner, Group Director, Behavioral Health, UHS, sign the final steel beam that tops the new facility.

“I think this is one of the most important things that we have achieved at Valley Children’s in the last decade,” said Todd Suntrapak, President and CEO, Valley Children’s Healthcare. “It is loud and clear from our community — and all the communities we serve from Bakersfield to Sacramento — that there is simply not enough access for kids who have behavioral or mental health challenges to get the kind of care they need. River Vista Behavioral Health — and our partnership with UHS — will directly benefit kids and families to receive behavioral healthcare services closer to home. Today, our families often have to travel three and four hours for this kind of care. Soon, they will have access to that care right here in the Valley. The addition of 24 inpatient beds specifically for kids will be the first dedicated inpatient unit for children in Central California.”

UHS contracted with local construction firm, Turner Construction Co., which broke ground on the site in 2020. At the project’s peak, more than 150 local construction workers will be on-site.

UHS will begin recruitment efforts approximately six months before the hospital opening. When operational, the hospital will employ 250-300 individuals including physicians, nurses, clinicians, mental health technicians and support staff.

The new behavioral health hospital will be owned and operated by UHS as an independent hospital open to all members of the community. Learn more about River Vista Behavioral Health →

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About Valley Children’s Healthcare

Valley Children’s Healthcare provides Central California’s only high-quality, comprehensive care exclusively for children, from before birth to young adulthood. Our network offers highly specialized medical and surgical services to care for children with conditions ranging from common to the highly complex at its 358-bed stand-alone children’s hospital that includes 28 regional NICU beds. In addition, the Valley Children’s Healthcare network includes specialty care centers, pediatric primary care practices and women’s health services.

Our family-centered, pediatric services extend from a leading pediatric cancer and blood diseases center on the West Coast, and a pediatric heart center known for its expertise and pioneering treatments, to a Regional Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the highest level referral center between Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

Valley Children’s was the first children’s hospital west of the Rockies to receive Magnet Nursing designation, the highest nursing benchmark in the world. In 2021, U.S. News and World Report again named Valley Children’s one of the best children’s hospitals in the country in seven pediatric specialties. With more than 670 physicians and 3,500 staff, Valley Children’s delivers high-quality, comprehensive care to more than 1.3 million children from Kern County to the state capital and from the Central Coast to the Sierra.

For more information, please visit www.valleychildrens.org →

About Universal Health Services, Inc.

One of the nation’s largest and most respected providers of hospital and healthcare services, Universal Health Services, Inc. has built an impressive record of achievement and performance. Growing steadily since our inception into an esteemed Fortune 500 corporation, our annual revenues were approximately $11.6 billion during 2020. In 2021, UHS was again recognized as one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune; ranked #270 on the Fortune 500; and ranked #307 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Public Companies.

Our operating philosophy is as effective today as it was upon the Company’s founding in 1979, enabling us to provide compassionate care to our patients and their loved ones. Our strategy includes building or acquiring high quality hospitals in rapidly growing markets, investing in the people and equipment needed to allow each facility to thrive, and becoming the leading healthcare provider in each community we serve.

Headquartered in King of Prussia, PA, UHS has approximately 89,000 employees and through its subsidiaries operates 26 acute care hospitals, 335 behavioral health facilities, 39 outpatient facilities and ambulatory care access points, an insurance offering, a physician network and various related services located in 39 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom. It acts as the advisor to Universal Health Realty Income Trust, a real estate investment trust (NYSE:UHT).

HealthLinkNow (HLN) is a subsidiary of UHS. HLN is a dedicated network of psychiatrists and licensed clinicians who care for patients via telehealth. HLN provides support to individuals experiencing various mental health challenges and is focused on helping them meet their short-term and long-term treatment goals. Learn more about HealthLinkNow →


For more information

Zara Arboleda Valley Children’s Healthcare [email protected] Cell: 559-284-0187

Jane Crawford Universal Health Services [email protected] Cell: 610-291-7217