Maumelle Behavioral Hospital turns 20

The exterior of Maumelle’s Methodist Behavioral Hospital

Monday is a big day for Maumelle’s Methodist Behavioral. The healthcare facility turns 20.

“Monday, that’s when we were founded and had our articles of incorporation approved,” said the hospital’s director of communications Kelli Reep of May 10, 2001. “So that is what we are using as our official anniversary, and then in September of that year, we did our official opening with a ribbon cutting.”

The ribbon cutting was held Sept. 14, 2001, and attended by then-mayor Burch Johnson, Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller and Arkansas United Methodist Bishop Janice Huie, among others.

Former Arkansas United Methodist Bishop Janice Huie

For the church-related facility, the ribbon cutting had a dual purpose, as the event was also a service of consecration. 

Huie was also notably the first female bishop to serve in Arkansas, and during her tenure merged what were two church conferences into one. 

Andy Altom was president and chief executive officer of the hospital then and still serves in that role now.

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The building on Murphy Drive had previously been Charter Hospital, which closed in 1999, and was vacant before the Behavioral Hospital moved in.

A 2001 article in the Maumelle Monitor described the hospital as a "psychiatric residential youth treatment facility" and the Maumelle City Board, as the City Council was known then, approved a conditional use permit at its July 2, 2001 meeting.

Reep said that the Behavioral Hospital has 60 beds and 85 employees in Maumelle. 

“For the entire continuum of care, we run anywhere between 425 to 1,000,” Reep added of the employee count that varies based on patient need.

The Behavioral Hospital is part of the larger Methodist Family Health, a state-wide organization with facilities and outreach across Arkansas. In addition to the Behavioral Hospital, there’s the Methodist Children’s Home, Methodist Counseling Clinics and Arkansas Center for Addictions Research, Education and Services or Arkansas CARES.

Another facility in Little Rock is also in the works in the Mike Millar Spiritual Life Center at the Methodist Children’s Home campus just north of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The center will replace the original Children’s Home chapel and is named after the late Mike Millar, a prominent attorney in Searcy who was a long-time supporter of Methodist Family Health. 

Mike Millar (ARUMC photo)

The Maumelle location focuses on “what we call acute and subacute, which is short-term stabilization and a little bit longer stabilization,” Reep said.

The larger system, Reep said, has, “residential treatment centers, psychiatric residential treatment centers, therapeutic group homes. We also have school-based and outpatient counseling clinics, so everything from inpatient to outpatient, residential to not residential, we have.”

The Behavioral Hospital is the most intensive level of care in the system and is the only hospital in the country certified in the “Teaching-Family Model.”

Acute care, Reep said, is intensive, in-patient and usually seven days.

“If a child is a danger to himself or someone else or maybe both,” Reep said. “That child can come to us for an acute admission. And we work with them to stabilize their behavior so they can either go home or go to another program like our sub-acute care, or to a therapy group home … wherever is best, with our goal being to get them back to the community.”

Sub-acute care is longer-term inpatient programs designed for children from 4 to 11 who are “struggling with chronic issues,” said the Behavioral Hospital’s website.

“We are licensed for acute care from 3 to 17, “ Reep said, “and that's both boys and girls.”

“Acute care is short-term stabilization,” Reep said. “Where the child is saying things like they wish they weren’t here and is suicidal or if they're talking about hurting someone else.”

Reep noted that suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts have trended up over the last year.

“I can't say it is because, but the pandemic certainly hasn't helped with uncertainty,” Reep said. “If you’re a child and maybe they have some problems but they’re going to school and walking a fine line but they’re doing OK, then, all of a sudden there’s a complete change of routine … that could throw them off.”

The ongoing pandemic has dominated life for the last year, and “you can't get away from it, Reep said. “It's on TV, all the time. It's on social media and it's on whatever, or wherever kids are talking. So now it follows you everywhere. It feels like you're always marked and it would be like you are always in the pool, swimming, and you can’t get out.”

  • Click here to see a nifty online timeline of the history of Methodist Family Health made by the organization.

Board of Directors of Methodist Family Health

  • Chairperson Bill Mann, Little Rock

  • Ritter Arnold, Marked Tree

  • Scott Beardsley, Paron

  • Harry Clerget, Little Rock

  • Dr. Charles Clogston, Little Rock

  • Russ Hannah, Jonesboro

  • Betty L. Hanson, Little Rock

  • Rev. Nathan Kilbourne, Sherwood

  • Rev. Michael Mattox, Rogers

  • Rev. C.E. McAdoo, Little Rock

  • Judge Robert McCallum, Hot Springs

  • W.A. McCormick, Little Rock

  • Bishop Gary Mueller, Little Rock

  • Jamilyn Noble, North Little Rock

  • Rev. Jim Polk, Little Rock

  • Neill Sloan, Lake Village

  • Don Weaver, Conway

Board of Directors of Methodist Family Health Foundation

  • Chairperson Misty Baugh, Little Rock

  • Andy Altom, Heber Springs

  • Ritter Arnold, Marked Tree

  • Linda Barnes, Little Rock

  • Laura Borg, Little Rock

  • Ray Dillon, Little Rock

  • Jim Duckett, Little Rock

  • Pam Gadberry, Little Rock

  • Clay Gordon, Conway

  • Jan Green, Little Rock

  • Marci Hall, Little Rock

  • Karla Hilburn, Little Rock

  • Arita Jewart, Little Rock

  • Becky Kossover, Little Rock

  • Rev. Annie Lankford, Little Rock

  • Sherry Rowbotham, Clarksville

  • Max Sharp, Little Rock

  • Cody Simon, Little Rock

  • Neill Sloan, Lake Village

  • Bill Spivey, Little Rock

  • Clefton Vaughan, Little Rock, emeritus

  • Don Weaver, Conway