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Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo re-opening 39 mental health beds

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DENVER (July 20, 2023) — The Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo (CMHHIP) announced that 39 additional mental health beds will open this month, following bed closures due to the effects of the pandemic in early 2020. These beds will allow the hospital to serve approximately 117 more Coloradans per year. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital was forced to close three and a half units, a total of 94 beds, because of outbreaks and the nationwide healthcare worker shortage. The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), which oversees the hospital, began a robust hiring campaign this year to attract needed health care staff, including $2,000-$14,000 hiring bonuses, 5% pay increases, temporary stipends and more. Those efforts contributed to an increase in staffing, which has allowed for one of those closed units to re-open. The 39 forensic beds being opened this month comprise one coed unit. CDHS continues to work to hire staff in order to re-open the remaining beds.

“This is a significant step toward making sure every Coloradan with severe mental illness gets the treatment they deserve,” said Leora Joseph, director of the Office of Civil and Forensic Mental Health. “At a time when about 460 Coloradans are waiting in jail for an inpatient hospital bed, every bed counts in our ability to get people the services they need instead of languishing in jail.”

CDHS has been under the oversight of a federal consent decree since 2019 for failure to provide timely competency evaluations and restoration treatment. These beds will serve competency patients, who require treatment because they are unable to function meaningfully and knowingly in a legal proceeding.
 
“CMHHIP strives to provide exceptional care to Coloradans who wouldn’t otherwise get treatment,” said Jill Marshall, Chief Executive Officer of CMHHIP. “I am proud of the work our staff do to fulfill our mission, and I am grateful for the opportunity to help more Coloradans in need.”

The Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo (CMHHIP) is a 516-bed acute care psychiatric hospital that provides inpatient behavioral health services for adults, adolescents and geriatric patients. CMHHIP is a forensic hospital that serves individuals with pending criminal charges who require evaluations of competency, individuals who have been found to be incompetent to proceed (restoration treatment) and individuals found to be not guilty by reason of insanity by Colorado's criminal courts.

Media contact:
Jordan Saenz (Johnson)
Communications Manager
jordan.johnson@state.co.us
720.355.3657