November 25, 2006

Massachusetts State Psychiatric Hospitals Not Admitting New Patients

With potentially devastating impact to entire families and thus to society at large, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is withholding the $425 million already approved by the Legislature earmarked for the state psychiatric hospitals, saying that the state cannot afford it. Because of the funding cuts, the the state hospitals, which provide care to hundreds of children and teens, are eliminating 170 staff positions and will be turning away new patients beginning 22 November 2006. Children's and teens' access to residential treatment will be restricted.

With a display of in-fighting typical in an election year, Gov. Romney claims that the state cannot afford the money approved for the hospitals, while members of the Legislature say the cuts are merely the governor's political ploy to "buff up his conservative credentials ahead of a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008".

After taking office in January 2007, Governor-elect Deval Patrick can re-instate the funding to the state psychiatric hospitals.

Thanks to Tim^ for directing our attention to this story affecting so many people in the state of Massachusetts.

Read the full story: State psychiatric hospitals to stop admitting new patients 21 November 2006 The Boston Globe - Associated Press

Related News:
Officials Clash Over Mentally Ill in Florida Jails
Los Angeles Hospital Patients Dumped on Skid Row
Crisis for North Carolina's Mentally Ill Due to Funding Shortfall
Greater Need, Less Help - Alabama
Prisons - The New Asylums (News Report)
Homeless shelters are de facto mental institutions


ugh, that's so horrible.. no one would ever .dream. of doing that to heart or cancer patients. once again, people with mental illnesses get the shaft. thank you, mitt romney, for failing to educate yourself.

Posted by: Vykky at November 25, 2006 10:32 AM

Gov. Romney should understand that turning away mentally ill patients from much-needed hospitalization will only serve to increase emergency room visits, homelessness, crime, and possibly suicide.

Refusing to address a problem doesn't mean that particular problem ceases to exist.

Posted by: Amanda L. Smith at November 25, 2006 03:51 PM

I don't think this means there will be NO mental health care, I think it just means that there are fewer long term hospitalization beds for people who are very ill (the usual population at state hospitals has been those whose needs cannot be met by community health care).

The trend has all along been, to push mentally ill people into short hospitalizations in general hospitals in the community, rather than send them to state hospitals further away. State hospitals are a strain the state governments have been trying to get out from under for 40 years. They've been cutting them back bit by bit for that long.

This does reduce the options for people who need longer term care and for more severely ill people, but this has been going on for a long time. For example, my friend back in the 1970's, a person who was mentally retarded, psychotic, or also diagnosed autistic and schizophrenic, committed suicide when he walked out of a general hospital where he had been on suicide watch for 2 weeks - the maximum time provided in a general hospital.

Who these moves hurt the most are the most severely ill. Others, more insightful, willing to accept treatment and less self harming, may manage to survive in the community (county) mental health care system, though even there, it is often that they barely survive, rather than actually have a good quality of life. Assistance is bare bones, housing has a long waiting list...I know older folks who say they prefered the state hospital system.

Posted by: slc2 at November 30, 2006 06:51 AM

This is disturbing.

Posted by: Uncle Sam at December 2, 2006 07:24 AM

Don't get upset, get even. Vote in 2008.

Posted by: Ray Kinserlow at December 2, 2006 06:56 PM

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