Griffo, Brindisi call for state to hold public meeting about MVPC closures

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Lawmakers want to know more about a plan to shut down some wards at the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center. On Wednesday, New York State officials announced the center would close some wards and transfer others to Syracuse-- which adds up to a loss of about 100 positions.

On Thursday, State Senator Joe Griffo (R) 47th District, and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D) 116th Assembly District, asked for the commissioner of New York State Office of Mental Health to visit the center...and explain the plan in more detail.

The lawmakers say they've received concerned calls from employees and residents and are wondering about the plan to move the patients involved.

Griffo and Brindisi have written a letter to the agency-- asking for justification for the cuts and they want to know if the closures will mean significant savings for the state. They would also like to know more about the plan for discharging patients, and whether they will have adequate supervision and mental health treatment options in the Utica area if they decide to stay in the region. Both also say officials from OMH and other state agencies need to develop a reuse plan for the large campus which occupies a large amount of space in the residential neighborhood.

"This is the latest illustration of an Albany agency decision that's going to have a profound negative effect on public jobs in this region." said Griffo. "Our area economy will again be asked to bear another hit, while other areas in the state haven't made the same sacrifices. The employees are rightfully very concerned about their futures, and we are asking the OMH commissioner to hold a public meeting as soon as possible. "

"I am highly concerned that if patients are discharged from the center and choose to remain in the Utica area, they will suffer the consequences of a mental health system that already is overburdened." Brindisi said. "Patients who have been in this facility for many years will need a lot of assistance adjusting to life in our community, and I am skeptical that they will be able to quickly access the programs and services they need to be a part of our community."

Griffo and Brindisi would like the state officials to tour the MVPC campus to see why reuse of the location is essential, whether or not the proposal to cut 100 positions goes through.

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