CDHS opens 22 mental health beds to serve competency patients

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DENVER (Nov. 7, 2023) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health (OCFMH) is opening a new 22-bed unit at the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Fort Logan (CMHHIFL) to serve Coloradans in need of competency restoration treatment. Competency is a legal concept that refers to an individual’s current capacity to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding.

These beds are part of the newly constructed competency wing at CMHHIFL. The first of these beds opened in December 2022, which marked the first time the hospital has served competency patients. The remaining beds were unable to open due to significant staffing shortages. Since then, CDHS has offered $2,000-$14,000 hiring bonuses for direct care staff, and is now able to open the remaining 22 beds.

“We are thrilled that we can serve over 66 more patients per year because of these beds,” said Leora Joseph, director of OCFMH. “These beds are another milestone of service, and we will continue to work hard to open more opportunities for treatment.”

Fort Logan admits those with pending misdemeanor and some felony (F4, F5, F6) charges. The department determines admissions based on acuity and prioritizes those with the highest needs, who are then medically cleared before admission.

“Fort Logan is now operating at full capacity,” said Victoria Trapp, CEO of CMHIHFL. “I am grateful to the dedicated staff who have stepped up to serve a new patient population.”

CDHS has been under the oversight of a federal consent decree since 2019 for failure to provide timely competency evaluations and restoration treatment to pre-trial defendants who have been found incompetent to proceed in a criminal case. These beds will serve competency patients, who require treatment because they are unable to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding.

The Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health operates Colorado’s two mental health hospitals, the Forensic Services Division and the Mental Health Transitional Living Homes. The office provides a continuum of mental health care that includes pre-trial restoration services, inpatient hospitalization and transition homes for community-based care.

Media contact:
Jordan Saenz
Communications Manager