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“New mental-health ward slated for Sacred Heart”


The nightmarishly long link above will take you to a full artical on the morning Call website that discusses a new treatment unit being opend at Sacred Heart Hospital in response to the closing of Allentown State Hospital.  The unit will be able to admit folks for upto 180 days according to the article so it will be a longer term unit but smaller in size then Allentown State Hospital.

I do appollogize for the link if it were my work I would have made it MUCH shorter and more humane, but it is the work of the folks at Morning Call.

“Allentown State Hospital Undergoes a Slow Painful Death”

Allentown State Hospitalhttp://www.mcall.com/opinion/yourview/mc-alex-thomas-allentown-state-hospit20100616,0,2105275.story

This is an Opinion article found in The Morning Call talking about what the process of closing Allentown State Hospital has been like so far from the perspective of a staff Psychiatrist who works there.

hb 1587 – Rent Rebate fairness bill


The link above is for a PDF file that gives talking points about Hb 1587 which if passed would enable folks in personal care homes to have the ability to keep the full amount of their rent rebate checks as opposed to their current ability to only keep 50% for themselves, with the other half going to the personal care home which is something no other landlord is able to do.

I looked up “Rebate” on http://www.dictionary.com and the following is a definition I found listed from the Legal Dictionary for the word “rebate”

Legal Dictionary


Pronunciation: 'rE-"bAt
Function: noun

:  a refund or deduction of part of a payment, price, or charge — re·bate /'rE-"bAt, ri-'bAt/ verb

“rebate.” Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam-Webster, Inc. 17 Jun. 2010. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rebate>.

“WSH’s New Leader”


The above link goes to the article I included below, it is from the June 13, 2010 edition of the Warren Times Observer and announces that Charolette Uber formally accepted the position as CEO at Warren State Hospital on Saturday June, 12, 2010.  Nice writeup includes a little history of Warren State Hospital.

I have been avoiding placing full articles on my blog, but knowing that this particular paper doesn’t have much in the way of an online accessible archive, so I opted to include the full article which I found at the address at the beginning of this entry and can also be found at the end of the article.

WSH’s New Leader

Uber assumes CEO post at state hospital, emphasizes helping people

By BRIAN FERRY bferry@timesobserver.com

POSTED: June 13, 2010

Article Photos

The new chief executive officer at Warren State Hospital has spent her career in the social services field.

Charlotte Uber, who formally assumed the office of CEO on Saturday, has decades of experience in administration and supervision.

Her focus is on helping people.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Uber said last Friday. “Regardless of what job title I have, or what role I am in, as long as I can help people get the services and treatment they need to have a better quality of life, I feel I’m accomplishing my goal.”

“I am totally committed to quality patient care and believe it’s important to work with people’s strengths instead of focusing on their problems,” she said. That goes along with putting people first – “people are not their mental illness.”

“Sometimes it’s the small things that really make a difference,” she said. “As a CEO, I hope to be able to make a difference on a larger scale.”

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides the goals, the CEO decides how to go about reaching them.

“The CEO can have a large impact on the overall atmosphere of the hospital and the day to day decisions affecting overall operation,” Uber said. “For example, the CEO prioritizes projects for the hospital, communicates expectations regarding interactions with patients, family members, and outside agencies… approves all policies and procedures…”

Uber has worked at Warren State Hospital for the past five years, beginning as social services director in February 2005 and advancing to chief of social and rehabilitative services in February 2007.

Her experience includes a total of 25 years in county programs serving at-risk individuals, families and children; 21 years in supervisory and administrative roles; eight years as a mental health therapist with Deerfield Behavioral Health; two years in a residential treatment facility and emergency shelter.

“There’s nothing that replaces that front line experience that you get when you’re working crises,” she said.

She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Penn State University in Individual and Family Studies and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Uber was an adjunct faculty member at Pitt for three years.

Former CEO David Kucherawy retired in December after more than four years as CEO at the state hospital and 35 years of service with the state. Valerie Vicari was acting CEO from January through June.

Since the first patient was admitted in 1880, the hospital has changed in several ways.

The most obvious may be in the number of patients. She said the historical high population was about 3,000. In 1990, there were 490 patients. That number was down to 188 as of Friday and the typical population is between 185 and 205, Uber said.

Staffing levels have also fallen.

In 1990, the hospital had 867 employees. On Friday, there were 449 people on staff.

Less evident is the change in duration of treatment.

“In the past it was not unusual for people to spend many years, if not their entire lives living in the state hospital,” Uber said. “WSH is functioning more like an extended acute care facility for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness. Many people are discharged from WSH within six to 12 months of their admission.”

“We have made great strides in the medications available to treat all types of mental illness, as well as other therapeutic interventions/programs that help support people in the community,” she said.

Among the hospitals in the state system, Warren has the highest admission and discharge rate, Uber said. In 2009, 215 patients were admitted and 218 discharged. Also, the hospital has the lowest percentage of patients who have been hospitalized for more than two years.

Other changes have increased inclusion of family, friend and peer support; encouraged personal empowerment; rejected the use of “traumatizing procedures” like seclusion and restraint; celebrated success; promoted hope; and focused on skills necessary for a return to the community.

About 50 percent of resident patients have jobs.

Whirley Industries provides jobs for some residents through the sheltered workshop, Uber said. Others work in the Toy Shoppe assisting the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, at the hospital greenhouse and library, cleaning around the grounds, and in the dining room and cafe.

“One part of people’s recovery from mental illness is having something meaningful to do,” she said.

One of Uber’s goals is to change perceptions about people with mental illness. “I would like to help reduce the negative stereotypes and perceptions that people have about persons with mental illness and also help others to understand that people can and do recover from serious mental illness,” she said.

Uber said attaining the rank of CEO was never one of her goals, but she welcomes the challenge and expects the strengths of the hospital to work in her favor in her new position. “We have many strengths as a hospital -excellent staff, good working relationships with our community partners, an emphasis on teamwork, and we truly care about helping the people we serve.”

Pasted from <http://www.timesobserver.com/page/content.detail/id/531941.html?nav=5006&showlayout=0>


“Authority May Hike Rent”


This article was in the June 11, 2010 edition of the Warren Times-Observer and discusses HUD reccomending a rent increase for tennants of the Warren County Housing Authority properties.

For granted rent increasing for apartments isn’t exactly a mental health issue, but it is something that does have an impact on folks who happen to have mental illnesses so I guess that since folks need safe and affordable housing, this does indirectly become an issue that I felt should be mentioned here.  I know that rent increases are a part of life, so please don’t take this as me whining about something being unfair, because in reality it truely is a part of life.  I am doing this entry more as one of those things that folks may want to be aware of because if it is happening in Warren, then chances are it is happening in other places as well which means lots and lots of people may feel the impact of this, including many in the mental health community.

“State to be paid $505,505 for Mayview”


In the June 3, 2010 edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is an article indicating that the property and building formerly the location of Mayview State Hospital is being purchased for $505,505.

While the amount is disappointing, there has been legislation signed that will indicates that the amount left after the State recovers it’s costs for maintaining the property since the closure, that the remaining amount will be split 50/50 betwenn the Mental Health and Mental Retardation budgets for the ares that were serviced by Mayview. 

The article describes things in more detail, but that should give you an idea of what is happening.

I’m pleased about where the proceeds will be going, but feel like the devaluing due to asbestos in the buildings, in many ways short changed the programs that would be benefiting from the money.  Still though I don’t feel it is a complete loss, things could have gone much differently then they did and something is generally better then nothing when it comes to money in my mind.

“Friends Hospital Opens Unique Unit”


January 15, 2010 edition of the Philadelphia Business Journal had an article that describes a recovery oriented unit that is relatively new at Friends Hospital.

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