Rep. Lupardo says deal with governor will make Broome Development Center closure smoother

Courtesy of Broome Developmental Center
June 24, 2014

The 2016 closure of the Broome Developmental Center is going ahead as planned, despite passage of a bill that would have delayed it for another year. That bill’s sponsor in the Assembly, Donna Lupardo, says an agreement reached with Governor Cuomo will make the closure process less disruptive.

The Stop Unsafe Closures Act would have kept open all state-run mental health facilities until 2017. It passed the state Senate last week, but a veto by Governor Cuomo was widely expected, so the Democrat-controlled Assembly never voted on it.

Instead, an agreement was reached by lawmakers, Governor Cuomo and representatives of a state health workers union.

Binghamton-area Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo co-sponsored the bill. Lupardo supports the agreement because, she says, it ensures local input on the future of patients released from these facilities.

“We want to make sure as people transition into the community, it’s done well. But also, we’re also trying to persuade the federal government to re-examine this number that they’re trying to get us down to, which is 150 institutional beds in the whole State of New York.”

The government is pushing states, through Medicaid funding, to move away from institutional care for the mentally ill. According to Lupardo, there are 100 patients left at the Broome Center. The Greater Binghamton Health Center was taken off the list last year.