Thursday, January 21, 2010

Central State Coverage from Here and There

Because the Union-Recorder doesn't put much of their content online, I thought I would use the blog to connect local readers to more information about the symbolic end of Central State Hospital.
And you might want to read what some senior reporters have to say about this complex issue anyways.
The AJC has this report that delves deep into their back pages to chronicle the many times that Central State has wound up in their paper. It also details the 1960's coverage by the late Jack Nelson.
The Telegraph gives a good testimonial from a Macon-area mental health advocate about the struggle to get Middle Georgians with mental health issues assistance since Central State started diverting clients to other hospitals in November. That part of the story comes four paragraphs down.
The story also quotes state Sen. Johnny Grant about the closing.
"Two more area prisons are on the chopping block, and a partial shutdown at Central State is “not what Baldwin County needs to hear right now,” state Sen. Johnny Grant, R-Milledgeville, said Wednesday."

Although not strictly related, Lucid Idiocy posted this earlier in the day about the exodus of correctional jobs in Milledgeville.

Below is the text of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities press release announcing the closure.


ATLANTA - Adult mental health services at Central State Hospital in
Milledgeville, Georgia, are being permanently moved to other hospitals within the state’s behavioral health system, the state agency in charge of the hospital announced today. The hospital will continue serving people with developmental disabilities, those in its nursing home, and those in its maximum security forensic facility, which serves people referred for treatment by the courts. Since November 2009, people in the areas served by Central State who needed hospitalization have received care at other state facilities instead. Based on their needs and the clinical assessment of their doctors, planning has begun to move the remaining few adult mental health consumers at Central State to other hospitals or discharge them back to their communities by March 1.

“While we originally stopped new admissions to Central State to fix problems related to safety and treatment at the hospital, what we’ve found through that process is that other hospitals have been well able to accommodate those individuals,” said Dr. Frank Shelp, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).

The move to consolidate hospital services where possible is part of the department’s larger strategy of improving the state’s behavioral health system so that it’s more weighted towards community-based services while still retaining a role for hospitals in providing acute care. Under its Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the federal government, the state of Georgia has worked to move more people out of institutions and provide them with services to help them live independently in their own communities.

Approximately 200 employees at Central State will be affected by the change in services. DBHDD’s Office of Human Resources and the hospital’s leadership will work with staff to identify other opportunities at Central State and other hospitals that remain understaffed in key areas.

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