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Public Hearing To Save Psych Centers
ELMIRA---People in the community are speaking out against closing two Southern Tier Psychiatric Centers. Community leaders, law enforcement officials, former patients and family members testified today, urging law makers to fight against a plan that would shut down the facilities.
The plan proposed by the Office of Mental Health back in July, seeks to consolidate mental health services across the state, but would eliminate inpatient care here in the Southern Tier.
Currently the Elmira Psychiatric Center and The Greater Binghamton Health Center are responsible for serving the needs of 11 counties. Both have been rated top facilities by the Office of Mental Health. The Elmira Psychiatric Center is number one for it's adult inpatient services and the Greater Binghamton Binghamton Health Center is number one for its children's psychiatric care.
Chemung County Executive, Tom Santulli says, "To think that the counties that are right next to Rochester, Syracuse, and Buffalo - they come here to Elmira. You've got to think about that. They love the service they get here."
This new OMH plan will shut down inpatient services at Elmira and Binghamton, sending adult patients to Buffalo for treatment and children to Utica.
The move is something Psych Center supporters say will negatively impact patient care and long term healing, as family involvement is crucial to the healing process.
If the psychiatric centers are closed, it could potentially lead to another problem. The closing of inpatient care for mental health could lead to hundreds of people landing in jail as a result of not getting the help they need
If the OMH plan does go through as is, it will also mean hundreds of jobs in Elmira and Binghamton being put on the chopping block.
If you would like to sign the petition to save the psychiatric centers, visit http://www.omara.nysenate.gov/ and click on 'Join The Fight'.