Facing a financial crunch, UW Medicine is considering closing part or all of the psychiatric unit at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), a spokesperson confirmed. The unit is currently licensed to operate 20 beds, but only operates 10 after recent staffing decreases. It admits about 430 patients per year, according to UW Medicine, and 26 nurses, doctors, and other staff work in the unit.
If the unit closes, psychiatric patients will be left to seek care from other hospitals in the region, and nurses and doctors will be laid off. The potential closure has left many in the psychiatry unit anxious. Health care providers worry about the fate of their patients in a state with a severe shortage of beds for people needing inpatient psychiatric care.