Phoenix behavioral health facility expands its court services, cutting down on wait times

It's being called a major win for the west valley as a new courtroom is opening in a behavioral health facility that will help the patients and their families. 

This is a major improvement to the mental health care system in the west valley that typically leaves a Maryvale facility to handle court proceedings to take all day. 

Now, that all changes next week. The new Valleywise Behavioral Health Center currently has 120 beds for adults undergoing psychiatric treatment. Once all of the floors are open, there will be 192 beds. That's nearly 200 patients who will benefit from this expansion.

Many of the patients are undergoing an in-patient mental health evaluation or court-ordered treatment.

"Someone who is suffering from a behavioral health problem may need a period of forced hospitalization in order to no longer be a danger to themselves or a danger to the community," says Judge Joseph Welty, presiding judge at the Maricopa County Judicial Branch.

These patients can now handle all of their court proceedings on site. According to Welty, this makes things easier during a typically stressful time and family members of the patients can be more involved.

This is the very idea senior vice president of behavioral health, Gene Cavallo, agrees with, saying, "They can be doing their various daily activities, seeing their doctor and when their hearing time happens we can just bring them into the courtroom, 20 minutes later it's finished and then they go about their day."

This is the third facility of its kind to open in Maricopa County.

The very first case in the new courtroom will be held Feb. 10.