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Denver father: 'My 8-year-old son is a danger to the community'

Medicaid denied residential care
Posted at 6:37 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 00:32:03-04

DENVER — The father of an 8-year-old boy says his son is a danger to himself and the community, but no one will listen. 

Records show the boy has attacked pregnant women and children, and a state psychologist says he needs to stay in residential care, but Medicaid is denying it.

"He's 8 years old, and nobody wants to help him," said Chris McInvale, who said his son was severely abused for years in custody of his biological mother. "It's just been awful."

They have tried nine-months of in-home treatment, but records show his son shows a pattern of "aggressive, violent behavior," and "hurting babies in daycare."

So, three months ago, the boy was admitted into residential care at Mount Saint Vincent in Denver. At first, McInvale said, he thought that Medicaid's contractor, Beacon Health Options, would pay, but then they denied coverage, recommending in-home treatment.

"This is not the first time we've had a problem with Beacon," said Julie Reiskin with Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, who said a state-appointed psychologist and a social worker believe residential treatment is necessary, especially after records confirm the boy "tried to hang himself with a jump rope" on Sunday. "He's going from suicide watch to discharge, that doesn't make any sense. So we think it is incredibly irresponsible to try to send this child home for any amount of time."

Denver7 contacted Medicaid services, and a spokesman released this statement: 

"Whenever a denial for services is made in a complex case such as this, the Department and its contractors work to help families through the appeals processes, including expedited appeals options based on the severity of the case. The Medicaid program also makes recommendations for alternative services that have been determined to be more clinically appropriate, in the least restrictive setting."

For now, McInvale is asking for help, as the plans to pick up his son Thursday night and go to a hospital for a mental health hold. But that doesn't buy much time for what he and others worry could be a human tragedy.

"What is going to happen to my son?" he said. "I don't want him to be in a juvenile detention center at 10 years old."