Tompkins County lawmakers seek reversal on psych center closures

The Tompkins County Legislature will soon let the state know that it opposes its plan to close down psychiatric centers in Elmira and Binghamton.

Legislator Frank Proto says there are several concerns, with the biggest being that the entire Southern Tier will be without facilities for anyone in need of the services they provide.

“That presents a major problem for not only the client base, but also the service base,” Proto said. “There will be a lot of competition for very few slots, and the traveling and distance for families to visit anyone in one of those facilities is very difficult.”

He says mental health patients will now have to travel long distances to centers along the Thruway corridor.

Proto calls the state’s decision a “knee-jerk” reaction to solve its monetary problems without taking into account the negative consequences.

The legislature will ask the state to create a regional center in the Southern Tier.

Proto says mental health patients will now have to travel long distances to centers along the Thruway corridor.

He believes the state’s decision will also create problems for Cayuga Medical Center, which he says can only handle 26 mental health patients at a time.

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