JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A state committee gave their stamp of approval for a project to create a skilled nursing facility geared toward released offenders who require around the clock care.

The Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee unanimously approved an $18.5 million project to establish a 150-bed skilled nursing facility in Fulton that will serve “medically fragile parolees and inmates eligible for parole who have limited access to skilled nursing care outside the prison system.”

The certificate of need application from CorrectLife, a Georgia-based company, was one of nine new projects given approval at the Monday morning meeting.

The parolee-focussed project is looking to serve a population with an unmet need, according to the application.

In a letter of support, Anne Precythe, the director of the Missouri Department of Corrections, noted they frequently are unable to timely place parole-eligible offenders in appropriate nursing facility environments.

“No existing facility is devoted primarily to the treatment of parolees and formerly incarcerated individuals. As a result, existing facilities have little capacity, capability, or ability to begin to address the total volume of incarcerated individuals in need of residential skilled nursing services who are also eligible for parole,” said Precythe.

“Thus, many offenders with complex medical or behavioral health needs may face delays in parole due to the lack of an appropriate environment to manage their conditions. These individuals remain in state custody, and the state must continue to provide for the offenders’ medical needs within the correctional system at significant cost.”

CorrectLife plans to build a 150-bed, 58,000-square-foot center located near the Fulton Medical Center. The facility will have additional security features a traditional nursing home would not.

“The facility will feature extensive cameras both inside and outside the building, as well as electronic fingerprint keypads requiring an authorized fingerprint to enter and exit each unit and the facility itself,” the application states.”

The center is expected to be operational by November 1, 2020, and is projected to cost $18.5 million to build.

The Health Facilities Review Committee also unanimously approved Mercy Hospital in St. Louis acquiring a Proton Therapy System.

Proton Therapy is a type of particle therapy used to irradiate diseased tissue, most often in the treatment of cancer. One of the advantages of the therapy is the ability to minimize the exit dosage of radiation, thus limiting the side effects of the treatment.

According to those presenting the option, there is an “overwhelming need” for this cancer treatment option. Mercy will not start taking patients for proton therapy before July 1, 2022.

The system is expected to cost upwards of $28 million.

Among the other projects approved was a $2.6 million robotic surgery system at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, a $2 million robotic surgery system at Lester E. Cox Medical Centers in Springfield, a $1 million electrophysiology camera at Lester E. Cox Medical Centers in Springfield, a $1.5 million CT scanner at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, and a $1.75 million Hybrid Electrophysiology Procedure Lab at St. Luke’s Episcopal Presbyterian Hospitals in Chesterfield.

A $3.1 million, 18-bed assisted living facility was approved for Jackson in Cape Girardeau County and a $1.7 million, 24-bed residential care facility was approved for Wardsville in Cole County.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.