Under Pressure, Montana Hospital Considers Adding Psych Beds Amid a Shortage
By Editor - Tue Sep 14, 4:09 am
Gary Popiel had to drive more than 200 miles round trip to visit his adult daughters in separate behavioral health facilities as they received psychiatric and medical treatment. It was 2000, and the family’s only options for inpatient psychiatric beds were in Helena and Missoula — far from their Bozeman, Montana, home and from each other. Fast-forward 21 years, and Montana’s fourth-largest city still lacks a hospital behavioral health unit. “This would be just as traumatic now as it was then. We still would have to leave Bozeman,” Popiel said. “Why should families have to witness their loved one being hauled off or take them themselves to another facility — or outside the state — to receive help?” For years, health care workers and people such as Popiel who’ve had to travel for family members’ mental health hospitalizations have been pushing the city’s major hospital system, the nonprofit Bozeman Health , to add a behavioral health unit at its Deaconess Hospital. On Sept.