Inpatient beds at Denver Health’s Pavilion M.
Due to years of underfunding as well as some recent state budget cuts, parents of children and teens with acute psychiatric illness now have only one place to go in the city and county of Denver: the 16 inpatient beds at Denver Health’s Pavilion M, an expansion that opened in November 2011. In the past several years, the safety-net hospital has watched nearly a dozen other Colorado hospitals eliminate all inpatient beds for child psychiatric care, even though they were often full of patients. The decrease means Colorado now ranks 50th in the country for the number of pediatric beds per capita. Dr. Megan Twomey, a psychologist in Denver Health’s adolescent inpatient unit, says she and her colleagues have been combating this alarming statistic with a two-pronged approach: increasing the number of beds in their hospital—up from eight in 2009—and ramping up research. “We feel this is the best balance to strike,” Twomey says, “in terms of dedicating resources to care for patients as well as prevention.”