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Proposed Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Exterior

UnityPoint Health - Meriter to Expand Mental Health Services

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Hospital to grow facility and programs to meet the needs of children and families

UnityPoint Health – Meriter will invest over $11 million to improve behavioral health services aimed at children and teens in the region. The organization plans to add 10 inpatient beds to the UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Hospital, as well as critical outpatient services for kids and teens. The expansion is anticipated to open in fall 2019. Meriter will move ahead on the project as it works in partnership with UW Health to fully assess community needs.

The current hospital has 20 inpatient beds and turns away hundreds of children during the school year due to the lack of available beds. Meriter intends to improve the functionality of existing space by assigning its current 20 beds to adolescent care and adding 10 new beds specifically for children. It also plans to add key outpatient services in a new wing that can accommodate full-day and partial-day treatment programs for this same patient population, as well as provide evening community space.

“We all understand the critical need our community has for additional behavioral health services,” said Meriter President and CEO Sue Erickson. “By expanding our space and programming for our most vulnerable community members, we can better support the many children and families who are desperate for these types of services. As a community hospital, it is part of our mission to provide this care. And now, due to the stability and support offered through our new partnership with UW Health, we have the ability to do so.”

Proposed Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Interior

Meriter plans to break ground for the expansion this fall, doubling the footprint of its current site on the southwest side of Madison. The Meriter Foundation is launching a capital campaign to raise a portion of required funding. The expansion is supported by the UnityPoint Health and Meriter Boards of Directors, as well as UW Health leadership.

“Kids are struggling, and we need to answer that call,” said Dr. Katie Schmitt, Meriter behavioral health medical director. “I can’t begin to tell you how eager we are to have the opportunity to care for more patients, as well as offer new programming that will help our patients more easily transition back into the community. We need to impact these kids’ lives now.”


UnityPoint Health – Meriter – Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Hospital Statistics:

  • 20-bed inpatient hospital serving 65 percent of Dane County’s child and adolescent inpatient behavioral health services.
  • 804 children and adolescents were admitted in 2017 from 38 Wisconsin counties.
  • 10 additional beds will allow the hospital to increase the number of patients from 804 to 1,473 by the year 2020.
  • New partial hospitalization and day treatment programs will permit 3,054 visits by 2020.
  • The number of youth needing inpatient treatment has jumped 77 percent in the last 10 years.

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