Sana Hospital to Provide Psychiatric Care to Seniors

City and county officials praised the grand opening of SANA Behavioral Hospital during afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremonies Dec. 9 at 181 Whipple St. 

Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli welcomed executives, administrators and staff personnel, saying everyone in the community will benefit from a state-of-the art hospital. Local medical personnel and residents also welcomed SANA personnel. 

Dozens of visitors toured the new 15,378 square-foot, one-story building. The facility has 24 beds and its cost is estimated at between $9 million and $10 million.

Prescott-based SANA Hospital Administrator Pamela K. Pierce introduced Kirk Olsen, principal and owner of ERH Healthcare, a Salt Lake City-based hospital development company that manages several SANA-branded hospitals. 

 Olsen said constructing SANA in Prescott was based upon extensive research about medical needs in the broader community.

Official operations are expected to begin in February, after the Arizona Department of Health Services Medical Licensing unit evaluates the hospital and licenses it as a “Specialty Hospital in Geriatric Psychiatry,” Pierce said.

Pierce said the hospital will provide acute integrated inpatient psychiatric and medical care to adults age 65 and older on Medicare, and to those 55 or older with additional insurers as they add SANA to the provider networks. SANA also will pursue contracts such as Tricare to provide services for veterans. 

She said the focus will be directed to patients with mental disorders or disabilities that cause major disabilities in social, interpersonal, occupational and educational functions that lead to dangerous or life-threatening situations. 

She explained, “We will provide medically appropriate services to our patients who may need 24/7 oxygen, C-Paps or other medical care within our scope of service. We also will have linkages with Yavapai Regional Medical Center to provide specialty services we do not have.”

“I emphasize we will work with all patients to be certain they get the care they need, either through our hospital or with another hospital that accepts their insurance plan. I see SANA as value added, not competition, in the medical community,” said Pierce.

Pierce is the lead SANA administrator. Dr. Omar Ruiloba, psychiatrist, and Dr. Elizabeth Caspian are co-medical directors. Longtime Prescott physician Dr. Sam Downey is the associate medical director. 

The SANA hospital in Prescott is the company’s first in Arizona, and is being cited as a model for others. Another is scheduled to open in Gilbert in late 2020. 

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, SANA currently has a hospital In Las Vegas. Others are being planned for St. George, Utah, and Kennewick, Washington.

More information is available at

Photo: Pam Pierce, Hospital Administrator at SANA