A new 50-bed psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents opens its doors in Brooklyn Park Tuesday for public tours. The facility, owned by PrairieCare, will replace a 20-bed psychiatric hospital in Maple Grove.
"Kids sometimes couldn't get in to the hospital at all, ours or others, and so that would mean they would wait in the emergency department hours, if not days, for a bed," said PrairieCare CEO Dr. Joel Oberstar. "Sometimes that bed would be several hundred miles away from their home."
The expansion adds more than 20 percent to the state's child and adolescent psychiatric bed capacity. But Oberstar says during the school year, when hospital admissions are highest, he still expects some kids may have to wait for a bed.
"I don't think it's going to solve everything, but absolutely it's a need we have today," said Jennifer DeCubellis, an assistant commissioner for mental health at the state's Department of Human Services. "And the ability to keep those youth close to their families and in Minnesota is critical."
The state is working to expand other less-intensive psychiatric services for children and adults, she said.
Minnesota lawmakers allocated $50 million for mental health during the last legislative session, the state's largest single investment in mental health.
If you go: PrairieCare open house
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