News and Information

October 17, 2008

St. Joseph Medical Center Ball will benefit expanded mental health services

Tickets now on sale for Nov. 15 event in Tacoma

Proceeds from the Franciscan Foundation’s 33rd annual St. Joseph Medical Center Ball on Saturday, Nov. 15, in Tacoma will help pay for expansion of the hospital’s voluntary inpatient mental health unit.

Upgrades to patient rooms, clinical spaces and equipment are necessary as the Franciscan Health System prepares to consolidate the voluntary inpatient mental health program at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way into a single, larger program at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. The consolidation is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2009.

The St. Joseph Medical Center Ball, with the 1960s theme of “It’s A Mod World,” will be held at the Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma. Under the volunteer leadership of Co-Chairs Mark and Angela Strecker, the event will be underway from 6 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. with dining, dancing, silent and live auctions, and special entertainment. Tickets cost $200 per person and may be reserved by calling the Franciscan Foundation at (253) 428-8411.

“For three decades, this has been one of the premier charity events in Tacoma,” said Jon Flora, president of the Franciscan Foundation. “Over these many years, the generous support of Ball donors and sponsors has helped fund new equipment, facility improvements and a variety of patient services -- all of which have made St. Joseph Medical Center the Best Place to Heal.”

Major sponsors of the Ball include Bank of America, the Puget Sound Institute of Pathology, Sellen Construction Co., and physicians who provide inpatient psychiatry services at both St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital.

Effective in the spring of 2009, the 10-bed inpatient mental health unit at St. Francis will be closed and the inpatient unit at St. Joseph Medical Center expanded to create a larger, regional mental health service based at St. Joseph.

“Consolidation offers us the opportunity to take the best features of two smaller units and create more specialized care and programs that will serve residents of the South Puget Sound,” says Syd Bersante, chief operating officer at St. Joseph Medical Center. “During the transition, mental health services will continue uninterrupted at St. Francis. We have provided voluntary inpatient mental health care at St. Joseph since the 1950s, and we look forward to continuing this important service for the community.”

To prepare for the consolidation, the existing 16-bed mental health unit at St. Joseph is being expanded and updated to accommodate a total of 23 patient beds at a cost of about $1.5 million. An important funding source will be proceeds generated by the St. Joseph Medical Center Ball.

Franciscan Health System is the only hospital-based provider of voluntary inpatient mental health services in Pierce and South King counties. Mental health patients who seek treatment at Franciscan choose treatment, with the aid of a family member or a physician’s referral. “Voluntary” means they are able to ask for and consent to treatment. This differs from “involuntary” patients, which include individuals who need mental health treatment but decline services. They are often committed for care in a civil hearing. Franciscan does not treat involuntary patients.

St. Joseph Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital and the Franciscan Foundation are part of Franciscan Health System.

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