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County Leaders Applaud State Decision to Keep Open Southern Tier Psychiatric Centers

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County Leaders Applaud State Decision to Keep Open Southern Tier Psychiatric Centers

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tompkins County legislative leaders are praising the State’s decision to refrain from closing psychiatric centers in Elmira and Binghamton, announced late yesterday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“We are delighted that the Governor and the Office of Mental Health have heard the pleas of patients, their families, and the communities of the Southern Tier,” said Legislature Chair Martha Robertson. “We value the quality mental health care that the Elmira Psychiatric Center and the Greater Binghamton Health Center provide, and we value the dedicated and skilled employees who provide that care. It's a good day for the Southern Tier!”

“The wonderful news the Governor announced, which will keep both the Binghamton and Elmira psychiatric centers open, is a great holiday Christmas present for all the residents of the Southern Tier,” said Frank Proto, Chair of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.  “The hard work of the advocates has paid off, and the great support by Senators Libous and O’Mara, and Assemblywoman Lupardo certainly deserve gold stars.

“We will have an opportunity to measure the effects of the reduced number of beds that the Governor announced” Mr. Proto continued. “This will require some evaluation, but his willingness to hold off on further implementation of the Regional Centers of Excellence plan until there is consultation with local community and mental health professionals is well received.  A big thank you to all of those in Tompkins County who joined in this effort!”

By unanimous vote, the Legislature, as recommended by its Health and Human Services Committee, had urged earlier this year that the State reverse plans to close the centers, to preserve inpatient mental health services in the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region.  At that time, Legislature Chair Robertson had also conveyed the County’s serious concerns about the closure plan to the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, which was requesting comment on the issue.