Hill Crest Hospital

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Hill Crest Behavioral Health Services (or Hill Crest Hospital) is a full-service psychiatric hospital located at 6869 5th Avenue South. The hospital is owned by Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee.

The hospital was founded by psychiatrist James Becton in 1925. He purchased the E. L. Higdon residence upon his arrival in Birmingham from Nashville. Originally housing 20 patients, he expanded the hospital to accommodate 50 beds before 1929. As the state's only private psychiatric hospital, Hill Crest pioneered many treatments in the region. Becton had difficulty finding qualified staff and was often required to stay on site for months at a time to ensure proper care of patients.

Hill Crest became a non-profit community hospital in 1969 and built a new $3.5 million facility on the site of the original hospital buildings. The medical director and board president at the transition was James Ward. Built to house 190 patient beds, the facility is now licensed for 80 beds.

In June 2008, Hill Crest opposed St Vincent's East's application to begin its own 80-bed in-house psychiatric department. St Vincent's was granted the beds in November the wake of the closure of Carraway Methodist Medical Center, despite Hill Crest's and Trinity Medical Center's opposition.


  • Velasco, Anna (November 4, 2008) "St. Vincent's East again asks regulators to open inpatient psych unit." Birmingham News

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