Bellevue’s child psych ward expansion will make up for St. Vincent’s gap

The city’s most famous psych ward is about to get a little bigger.

Bellevue Hospital plans to add 15 inpatient psychiatric beds for children, bringing the pediatric total to 45 beds by spring, the Daily News has learned.

The $2.3 million expansion is directly tied to the closure of St. Vincent’s Hospital in the West Village and an added awareness about children’s mental health issues, hospital officials said.

The expansion is the second of its kind in recent years for the city’s oldest public hospital. In November, the Kips Bay hospital opened a nationally renowned round-the-clock psychiatric unit for kids. The $1.1 million Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program is run by child and adolescent psychiatrists, nurses and social workers.


The need for 15 more inpatient beds is also linked to an uptick in referrals from schools, many of which have new rules to prevent violence after the Columbine High School massacre.

In 1923, the famed hospital became the first in the nation to offer a children’s psychiatric inpatient service. In 1995, it treated 155 children and teen patients suffering from severe mental issues.

The hospital now handles more than 1,000 pediatric cases annually.


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