May 29, 2009

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Cornell wants committee discussion of Rockland’s plans for in-patient psychiatric care

NEW CITY - Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell has requested a discussion take place at upcoming meetings of the Legislature’s Multi Services and Budget & Finance committees, to learn how the county’s Department of Mental Health is planning to ensure continuity in local inpatient psychiatric treatment for acute care needs, in light of the announcement by Good Samaritan Hospital that it will close its 19-bed acute care psychiatric unit on August 31.                 The county operates a 43-bed acute psychiatric care facility at the Robert L. Yeager Health Center in Pomona and could absorb some patients. However, the county Department of Mental Health has been outsourcing many of its programs and has issued requests for proposals for the operation of its clinics.

Nyack Hospital does not have an inpatient program, other than for drug and alcohol cases, and overflow would be directed to facilities outside the county.

“It is imperative that a plan of action is developed to avoid a deficit in the care for patients here in Rockland County,” said Cornell. “It is crucial that those suffering a mental health crisis receive coordinated care, just as one would expect during a time of a physical health crisis. To require patients in crisis to be sent to far-distant hospitals making it difficult if not impossible for family support is cruel.   I hope to determine that our county Department of Mental Health is working with mental health providers in Rockland to ensure a plan of action that can be operational as soon as possible.”

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