Conditions remain stagnant for Mental Health Institute in Pueblo

Conditions remain stagnant for CMHIP

PUEBLO, Colo. - The Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo has about 450 beds to help patients with behavioral health services, and it's understaffed.

It's a problem that surfaced in June when the CIRCLE program for drug addiction and mental health had to shut down.

Since then, Sen. Leroy Garcia has kept an eye on the institute.

"We had challenges in regards to staffing and we're on a pathway towards immediate closure, really in a crisis," Garcia said.

Thursday night the staff was able to speak directly with the head of the Colorado Department of Human Services to voice their concerns.

"Making sure that they're feeling valued in their job, that their work as healthcare professionals are respected, that their opinions are counted," said Nick Voss the Union Rep with Colorado Wins.

The Institute has seen some progress with new hires and raises for nurses, but there are still concerns.

"The Department still has an overall problem with recruitment and retention of all job classes and they need to continue to prioritize fixing pay for all 24/7 staff," Voss said.

Because the challenges at the CMHIP have been ongoing, the timeline of what's next is hard to say.

"If this is not resolved before the general assembly, there will be legislative solutions and so the preference would be for the Department to address this in a non-legislative manner," Garcia said.

The Institute's administration is hoping to continue making improvements by meeting with employee groups on a regular basis.

Staff members asked about the future of the CIRCLE program that was shut down in June, but there is still no solid answer about when and if it will return.

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