Altru planning new Grand Forks behavioral health facility

A Tuesday morning announcement noted that “the specifics of the collaboration are still to be determined.”

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GRAND FORKS – Altru Health System says it is planning to work with Universal Health Services, a health care services company, on “an inpatient behavioral health facility in Grand Forks.”

The size and scope of the project was left unclear in a late Tuesday morning announcement, which noted that “the specifics of the collaboration are still to be determined.” For now, the two groups have signed a letter of intent to work on the development.

But news of Altru’s potential expansion is significant in light of rival Sanford Health’s new Grand Forks clinic and its purchase of a large plot of land in southern Grand Forks. It’s also notable as Altru attempts to move past financial pains that appeared to crest with the pandemic and its strain on health care providers.

RELATED: Altru Health System's new CEO, Todd Forkel, says Grand Forks system ‘is definitely not for sale’

Jeff Herman, group CEO, Behavioral Health, UHS, said he’s excited to work with Altru. 


“As our nation faces compounding crises, the need for high-quality mental health care has never been more important, especially as the rate of suicide and calls for help have been increasing over the last few years,” he said in the press release.

“We understand the urgent need for improved access to behavioral health services in our community and throughout our state,” Todd Forkel, Altru CEO, said in the release. “A collaborative effort with a nationally recognized organization like UHS provides the opportunity to greatly increase this access and provide outstanding care to the residents of our region.”

Tuesday’s announcement continues a busy summer at Altru. Last month, the Herald reported that construction at Altru’s new hospital is underway once again, with construction crews installing steelwork that continues to rise above the city’s central core. The project is expected to be completed before the end of 2024.

The new $380 million hospital will have 226 inpatient beds and a wide range of amenities, including a negative pressure unit, private neonatal intensive care unit, dedicated trauma operating room and a private trauma elevator linking it to the emergency room.

Related Topics: ALTRU
Sam Easter is a freelance reporter who has been a regular contributor to the Herald since 2019. He covers a variety of topics, including government and politics.

In 2015, he joined the Herald’s staff as City Hall reporter, covering North Dakota politics at all levels and conducting Herald investigations through early 2018, when he began his freelancing career.

Easter can be reached at or via Twitter via @samkweaster.
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