Psychiatric centers in Elmira, Binghamton and the North Country will remain open under a revamped plan unveiled Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Nine of New York’s 24 state-run mental hospitals had been slated to close beginning in 2014 under the Cuomo administration’s plan to consolidate its inpatient psychiatric care, shifting it toward outpatient models.
But in video conferences with local lawmakers and caregivers Friday, Cuomo said the Office of Mental Health would alter the plan, allowing the Greater Binghamton Health Center, Elmira Psychiatric Center and St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center to remain open with reduced inpatient beds.
“We all want the same thing at the end of the day,” Cuomo said. “We want to provide the best services for the people that we serve and to do it in a way that is effective for both state government and for local government.”
Officials in the Southern Tier had raised concerns about the closure plan, which would have left some patients traveling to Utica or Buffalo for inpatient services.
Under the new plan, the Binghamton facility’s adult beds will be reduced from 90 to 60. Elmira will be reduced from 72 to 48, according to Cuomo. But 60 new “community beds”—allotments at homes generally run by non-profits and overseen by the state—will be added in Binghamton, along with 48 in Elmira.
The Greater Binghamton Health Center employed 373 people as of July, when the closure plan was first announced. About 360 are employed at the Elmira center.
“It’s a great Christmas present for the Southern Tier to save some 400 jobs and enhance the mental-health services that we’re providing at the center,” Libous said.
It’s unclear what impact the reversed closures will have on the rest of the Office of Mental Health’s plan, which had been slated to save the state $20 million each year. Earlier this week, the agency detailed plans to “re-invest” $72 million in the local communities affected by the closures.