Governor’s plan to reform state mental hospitals including Ogdensburg Psych Center sketchy, vague, CSEA leader says
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 6:39 am

Civil Service Employees Association President Danny Donohue says Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to reform the state’s mental health system is sketchy, vague and superficial.

The state Office of Mental Health recently released its plan to downsize and merger state hospitals to create regional centers of excellence.

The plan included six ward closures at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg by 2017.

"It's disappointing that members of the mental health services community would be so quick to embrace the vague and superficial outline put forth by the Cuomo administration. New York has never followed through with promised reinvestment for adequate mental health services over the past generation. Instead, too many individuals and families have been left without the help they need and local officials and taxpayers have had to deal with the human wreckage at their own expense.

There is no evidence in the state's latest sketchy proposal that promised changes will meet the needs of real people and communities,” Donohue said. “Until New Yorkers see a detailed plan, healthy skepticism from the mental health community would be more appropriate than a pep rally."

In statement issued last week, Donohue shared other concerns with the plan.

"There is nothing of excellence in Gov. Cuomo's proposal to close psychiatric centers, leave seriously ill people without the help they need and dump more unfunded mandates on local taxpayers," Donohue said. Cuomo's proposal renames remaining state psychiatric facilities as Centers of Excellence.

"Once again, the Cuomo administration is purposely misleading the public about the impact of his policies by packaging his proposal with a nice sounding name without providing any real detail about how services will be provided or supported," Donohue said.