Psychiatric center at GBHC to remain open

By Kelly McCarthy

December 19, 2013 Updated Dec 20, 2013 at 4:32 PM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The psychiatric center at the Greater Binghamton Health Center will remain open after months of outcry and pleading for the services to remain local.

Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement to state politicians and local health providers over a television conference Thursday afternoon.

The closure of the facility had been the topic of controversy for months.

Under the new agreement, the state Office of Mental Health will maintain 60 adult beds (down from 90) at the Greater Binghamton Health Center and add 60 new community residential beds.

The center's Child and Adolescent Units will stay open and also become home to a Children's Behavior Health Center of Excellence.

"Everybody worked together as a team to really make the point the Southern Tier deserved the basic level of inpatient services," said (D) Donna Lupardo, NYS 123rd Assembly, "And think the Governor and his team heard what we had to say."

Under the revised plan by the Office of Mental Health one adult ward will be reduced at the Greater Binghamton Health Center and the Elmira Psychiatric center.

Cuomo said that allows the state to reinvest $6 million into a combined 108 new residential beds that focus on adult services.

Some local leaders said the fight for local health care is not over. The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities still plans to close the Broome Developmental Center in Binghamton. The closure of that center still leaves 600 local jobs in jeopardy.

“While I'm grateful for the Governor's intervention today," said (R) Tom Libous, NYS 52nd Senate, "I remain very, very concerned about the other flawed plan released earlier this year by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to close the Broome Developmental Center (BDC). I won't stop working until that plan gets fixed too."

County Executive Debbie Preston released the following statement in response to Cuomo's revised plan, “Keeping the Greater Binghamton Health Center open is a huge win for families in our area. This will allow families of children who use these vital services to stay in our area rather than travel all over the state to get their children the help they desperately need. And we’ll save hundreds of local jobs.”

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