Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.
DENVER -- When it comes to getting the treatment his 8-year-old son needs, Chris McInvale says the brick wall is suddenly coming down.
"Yesterday, it felt like it was just hitting a brick wall, and the brick wall wasn't going to go away," said McInvale. "But today, it feels like the wall is starting to come down. Obviously, it has everything to do with the story that came out yesterday. Up until then, it was stonewall, stonewall, stonewall."
The story reported by Contact7 involved his son, considered by a state-appointed psychologist to be "a significant danger" to the community, after "attacking pregnant women" and "numerous children."
But Medicaid contractor Beacon Health Options denied ongoing residential care, despite pleas from disability advocates with Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition.
"I don't think they want to pay for this," said Julie Reiskin, the director of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. "But the possible human tragedy and damage that could come if this child is just released is just horrifying beyond measure."
After the story aired, Denver7 received hundreds of comments and shares on Facebook, including these:
"The mental healthcare system is broken."
"I experienced this first-hand as a special education teacher. Students sent back to school days later because insurance won't pay for it."
"I'm appalled that no one is helping this poor man and his family."
McInvale said since the Denver7 report, help has been pouring in.
"What this (report) has done has been huge. It's been really huge," said McInvale.
A local health care company, Vitae Care, is offering services and there has been a change of tone from Beacon Health. "Believe it or not, Beacon changed their tune a bit and they're willing to work with us now, so that's been great," he said.
For the next few days, McInvale said, his son will be treated at Children's Hospital, and Reiskin said Beacon is telling them now they will cover whatever doctors at Children's recommend.
Finally, McInvale said, he can hope that his son will get the long-term treatment he needs in order to one day come home.
"When he's in a good place, he can be the nicest, sweetest kid," he said. "Basically what we're looking for is just a normal life as a kid."