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Senator Libous Fights Developmental Center Closures

State Senator Tom Libous is waging an all-out battle against the Cuomo administration's plan to close the Broome Developmental Center and in-patient psychiatric services at the Greater Binghamton Health Center.
State Senator Tom Libous is waging an all-out battle against the Cuomo administration's plan to close the Broome Developmental Center and in-patient psychiatric services at the Greater Binghamton Health Center.

The Senator has written a letter to the Governor calling for a freeze in state facility closures until April 1st of 2015. Libous plans to introduce similar legislation when the Legislature reconvenes in January. He says the loss of local services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled will be a disaster.

"With the closure of Elmira and Binghamton, and the Developmental Center in Binghamton, there's nothing left in the Southern Tier. That's wrong," said Libous.

Libous was joined at a news conference today by the leaders of United Health Services and Lourdes. The hospitals say that without beds to send psychiatric patients, those individuals will likely remain in the Emergency Department, clogging up space needed for other patients. Doctor Leslie Major of UHS says his short term in-patient psych department already loses millions of dollars a year and has trouble finding longer term care for the mentally ill.

"Last year, GBHC took 112 patients from us. And if we're not able to discharge those patients to intermediate or long-term care, our beds will all be full," said Major.

GBHC's 105 psychiatric beds are slated to close in July, with seriously ill patients sent to Syracuse and adolescents to Utica. Others would be transferred to community-based treatment, although officials says the state has done nothing so far to bolster those services. The Broome Developmental Center is scheduled to close in 2016. Libous says Cuomo's staff has agreed to meet with him next week to discuss alternatives.
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