Questions rise for mental health consolidation

By Jillian Marshall

August 1, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) New York is still planning on closing multiple psychiatric centers across the state, but one mental health expert says there are questions that still need to be answered before 2014.

The Office of Mental Health says the consolidation will help the treatment of patients and save money. The plan is to close nine in-patient facilities statewide and open out-patient hubs and create community housing.

Koved Care is a psychiatric care management company. Founder and Owner Steven Horen says the Office of Mental Health has more questions to answer before he will be comfortable with closing the doors of local in-patient mental facilities, like the Greater Binghamton Health Center and the Elmira Psychiatric Center.

Horen says he supports the consolidation plan, which was released in early July 2013, but the state needs to release more details about what will happen to the patients when the doors close.

"I am in favor of it, in two caveats: If there are enough community based beds to accommodate the people coming out of the in-patient setting. And if there are enough beds remaining in the in-patient setting for people who really cannot live in the community," Horen said.

Horen also says there's the issue of whether adolescents will be housed separate from adults.

The psychiatric centers in Binghamton and Elmira are set to close in 2014, and will be replaced by smaller hubs.

State Senator Tom Libous, R-Binghtamon, and State Senator Tom O'Mara, R-Big Flats, have started petitions to attempt to save the local centers.

To sign the petition for the Greater Binghamton Health Center, click here.

To sign the petition for the Elmira Psychiatric Center, click here.

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