Cuomo: So Tier, No Country Psych Centers Will Retain Some Inpatient Beds

NYAPRS Note: Governor Cuomo announced this afternoon that psychiatric centers in Elmira, Binghamton, and Ogdensburg that were scheduled to close will remain open into the coming year, offering a reduced number of inpatient beds. Savings from the ward and bed closures that will still go forward will continue to be reinvested into the community, along the lines of recommendations put forth by the regional RCE groups. The state has committed upwards of $25 million in the value of redeployed state staff and nonprofit service expansion for the coming year, a point that mental health advocates emphasized in Monday’s news conference. We will be working vigorously to keep to this commitment.


Elmira, Binghamton Psych Centers To Remain Open Under New Closure Plan

Jon Campbell  Politics on the Hudson  December 19, 2013


Psychiatric centers in Elmira, Binghamton and the North Country will remain open under a revamped plan unveiled Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.


Nine of New York’s 24 state-run mental hospitals had been slated to close beginning in 2014 under the Cuomo administration’s plan to consolidate its inpatient psychiatric care, shifting it toward outpatient models.


But in video conferences with local lawmakers and caregivers Friday, Cuomo said the Office of Mental Health would alter the plan, allowing the Greater Binghamton Health Center, Elmira Psychiatric Center and St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center to remain open with reduced inpatient beds.


“We all want the same thing at the end of the day,” Cuomo said. “We want to provide the best services for the people that we serve and to do it in a way that is effective for both state government and for local government.”

Officials in the Southern Tier had raised concerns about the closure plan, which would have left some patients traveling to Utica or Buffalo for inpatient services.


Under the new plan, the Binghamton facility’s adult beds will be reduced from 90 to 60. Elmira will be reduced from 72 to 48, according to Cuomo. But 60 new “community beds”—allotments at homes generally run by non-profits and overseen by the state—will be added in Binghamton, along with 48 in Elmira.


The Greater Binghamton Health Center employed 373 people as of July, when the closure plan was first announced. About 360 are employed at the Elmira center.


“It’s a great Christmas present for the Southern Tier to save some 400 jobs and enhance the mental-health services that we’re providing at the center,” Libous said.


It’s unclear what impact the reversed closures will have on the rest of the Office of Mental Health’s plan, which had been slated to save the state $20 million each year. Earlier this week, the agency detailed plans to “re-invest” $72 million in the local communities affected by the closures.


Psych Center Will Keep Inpatient Services

WNYTV   December 19, 2013


Governor Andrews Cuomo called it a "big win for the north country."


He announced Thursday that the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center will keep its inpatient services and even become a Regional Center of Excellence.


Governor Cuomo made the announcement through a video conference Thursday which was seen at the psychiatric center in Ogdensburg.


Cuomo said the center will lose about 20 inpatient beds, but it will gain more outpatient services.


It's unclear what that means in terms of jobs.


The psychiatric center employs more than 500 workers.


The future of the psychiatric center has been in doubt since the state Office of Mental Health announced a reorganization plan earlier this year.


Cuomo met last week with a task force trying to save the psychiatric center and the hundreds of jobs it provides to the Ogdensburg area.


During the video conference, Cuomo applauded the task force for its work.


The state announced plans in July to shut down both the adult and youth in-patient wings at the psychiatric center over the next three years, shifting those services to Syracuse and the Utica area.


At the time, the State Office of Mental Health said employment would not be affected, which puzzled Ogdensburg leaders, who were highly skeptical - to say the least - that switching to an "outpatient only" center would keep all the jobs intact.


A long sought meeting between the task force trying to save the psychiatric center and top Cuomo staffers took place last week, and Cuomo himself showed up at the end, listened and said he would have more to say this week.

After hearing Cuomo's announcement, the chair of the task force, Chuck Kelly, said, "I wish I had a nickel four every person who was telling me I was wasting my time."