Chemung County pressures state government on mental health

Courtesy of NY Office of Mental Health
November 13, 2013

Chemung County Legislators are calling on Gov. Cuomo to reconsider his plan to close the Elmira and Greater Binghamton Mental Health Centers.  The closures are part of a larger state plan to consolidate inpatient mental health care.  

Mike Kausen is the Deputy County Executive for Chemung County.  He helped to pass a county resolution asking the governor to add a regional mental health center for the Southern Tier.  That would leave open the inpatient clinics in Elmira and Binghamton.

"I mean it does not make sense that you would close facilities that are so highly rated and so desperately needed by rural residents."

Under the governor’s plan, nearly 1 and a half million residents of the Southern Tier would be without easy access to inpatient mental health services. Those in need of inpatient care would have to travel to the regional centers in Buffalo or Syracuse. The plan is predicted to save the state 20 million dollars next year.

"We certainly understand the need to save money.  We just think when they threw the dart at the board they missed the target."

The federal government has designated many of the counties in the region as underserved areas.  The closures would leave roughly 1 and half beds for every 10,000 residents in the Southern Tier.