Behavior Health Center

A rendering of Norman Regional’s Behavior Health Center, 901 N. Porter Ave. is shown. Oceans Healthcare is partnering with Norman Regional Health System to expand services.

A new Behavioral Health Center from Norman Regional Health Systems will mean expanded capacity and offerings with the intention of meeting an increased need for services seen in recent years.

The system is entering a partnership with Oceans Healthcare, a Plano, Texas-based regional inpatient and outpatient treatment provider to offer services at a 36,064-square-foot facility, which is expected to open in 2024.

Currently, behavioral health services at the Porter campus, 901 N. Porter Ave., is a 20-bed inpatient crisis unit for adults 18 years of age and older. The addition of the new freestanding building and partnership will allow for 48 beds, recreational and group therapy, an intensive outpatient program and substance use disorder treatment.

Dr. Farhan Jawed, medical director for Norman Regional’s inpatient Behavioral Medicine Services, said there is an intense need for mental health services everywhere.

Jawed said the need exceeds the availability of facilities, and the new center will better address that locally. He pointed to multiple reasons for the increase.

“One, the population is growing, and secondly, in this day and age with the (COVID-19) pandemic, the economy and the overall stress of life, the number of psychiatric patients in the population is increasing,” he said.

“And third, awareness is increasing. So there are many people who had psychiatric problems who never came forward and now they are coming forward because we have tried our best to extinguish the stigma of mental health.”

Jawed said the psychiatric floor at Norman Regional provides both mental health and medical care, because the two shouldn’t be separate from one another.

Psychiatric challenges and conditions are treated with medication in the same way a provider would treat a patient’s high blood pressure, he said.

“I have patients here that I’m not only treating their depression, anxiety and appetite, we’re also treating their diabetes, neuropathy and seizures,” Jawed said. “The role of today’s psychiatrists has changed, and that’s why we have been very successful.”

Richie Splitt, the health system’s chief executive officer, said they began looking for a partnership years ago when formulating their Inspire Health Plan. After the first meeting with Oceans Healthcare, he knew that was the partnership for the future.

“They had a really deep commitment to patient care, compassion and passion for people and their life’s mission was very similar to ours,” Split said. “You can go out and get a partner for anything, but you want the right partner, and again, this goes back to our connection on their drive to get the outcome needed.”

That outcome, Splitt said, is achieved through their “compassionate healers” who work with patients daily, and Oceans Healthcare operates the same way.

He said Oceans Healthcare made the ability to expand into outpatient behavioral health services possible.

Splitt said the building’s art deco design is intended to “create a sense of place,” and will look similar to the senior wellness center currently under construction.

Jawed said the new facility will have larger rooms and lounges.

“We have a courtyard where people can go outside and sit rather than being locked up inside,” he said. “It’s going to be beautiful aesthetically but functionality wise it’s going to be pretty amazing as well. It will be a big beautiful hospital.”

Splitt said the system anticipates completion in spring or summer of 2024.

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.

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