To the Editor:
This letter was recently sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo:
When we met at the Elite Bassmasters Tournament in Waddington last month, you graciously agreed to meet with the members of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force and me.
I am grateful that you extended that opportunity to us and would like to confirm our interest in coming to Albany to meet with you. We are available to meet at your convenience.
We wish to discuss how we believe that through partnering with our local colleges and universities, health care providers, private companies and community support groups it makes economic, social and behavioral health sense to designate the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center as the New York State Rural Center for Excellence for mental health care.
We are gravely concerned that the Office of Mental Health's plan for Regional Centers of Excellence as currently presented does not provide equitable and adequate services for residents of the region. Additionally, the plan will add undue hardships for our individuals and families and will result in higher costs to New York State as well as to North Country residents and communities.
Our task force, with assistance from our community partners, including our local colleges and universities, has developed an alternative plan for how this facility could better serve North Country residents while creating cost savings and operational efficiencies for the state.
We look forward to meeting with you to discuss our plan and to determine how we can work together to achieve the best possible outcome for our residents, the Office of Mental Health, and the State of New York. Thank you again for agreeing to meet with us, please have your office contact me directly to set up a time for our visit.
Charles W. "Chuck" Kelly
Task Force Chairman