New, 12-bed psychiatric unit planned for Northwest Hospital

Unit will take the place of one to be closed at UW Medical Center.

Media Contact: Susan Gregg,

UW Medicine announced today that it will open a new 12-bed voluntary psychiatric inpatient unit at Northwest Hospital & Medical Center in the fall of 2019.  In the same timeframe, the 10-bed psychiatric unit at UW Medical Center will close as it will no longer meet updated regulatory standards set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  

“The new psychiatric inpatient unit at Northwest Hospital will allow us to serve more patients in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Dr. Jurgen Unutzer, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Patients will also benefit from the therapeutic and support systems at Northwest Hospital’s existing 27-bed geriatric psychiatry unit, which will also undergo facility improvements.”

“We will be able to provide significantly better patient care by building a new unit at Northwest Hospital versus renovating the aging space at UW Medical Center,” said Geoff Austin, executive director, UW Medical Center.  

Patients who require psychiatric care after the old unit at UW Medical Center closes will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary psychiatric consultation service in the emergency department or in a medical or surgical unit of UW Medical Center. 

Those who need inpatient psychiatric care may receive such care at Harborview Medical Center or Northwest Hospital; others may be referred to outpatient mental health services offered at UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Hall Health or the UW Neighborhood Clinics. 

The existing UW Medical Center psychiatric unit typically serves nine voluntary inpatients per day, and patients’ average length of stay is about one week. The unit admits about 430 patients per year, on average.

UW Medicine medical staff and clinicians currently staff more than 160 inpatient psychiatry beds in the following facilities: 

  • 66 beds at Harborview Medical Center
  • 27 beds at Northwest Hospital  
  • 10 beds at UW Medical Center  
  • 40 beds at Seattle Children’s Hospital  
  • 20 beds at Puget Sound VA Medical Center  

UW Medicine faculty and staff also provide psychiatric consultation to community hospitals and clinics throughout Washington state and to select providers in Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

Northwest Hospital is a UW Medicine community hospital that, in 2020, will begin operating jointly with UW Medical Center. 

For details about UW Medicine, please visit

Tags:psychiatry & behavioral health

UW Medicine