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“Trump’s Call for Mental Institutions Could Be Good: Bringing back asylums isn’t actually the worst idea.”

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This article discusses reasons not only why re-opening asylums could be good, but includes some of the history behind those that have been downsized or closed.   The article appropriately points out that even though opening asylums could be good, it would likely do nothing to prevent mass shootings or other forms of violence and points to the access to guns as being the issue that is feeding gun violence.

“Nearly 10 years since Harrisburg State Hospital closed, state officials tout success”

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This May 21, 2015 article on The Patriot-News site is the beginning of a series where The Patriot-News hopes to explore what the result of state hospital closures has been, with a particular focus on the impact of the closure of Harrisburg State Hospital.

“Beware return of ‘asylums'”

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This February 23, 2015 article found on the Philly.com website talks about concerns over the proposed idea of returning to asylums.

PA Olmstead Plan

Here is a link to a PDF file outlining the Pennsylvania Olmstead Plan


I don’t know a lot about the plan it is something I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of in terms of my understanding of it, but it is of importance, because it has a direct impact on the state hospital system in Pennsylvania, and secondly an impact on the community based mental health systems in Pennsylvania.


“Troubled minds: Discharges creating treatment backlog, experts say”

The following article was found in the September 20, 2008 Johnstown Tribune-Democrat at the following address … http://www.tribune-democrat.com/local/local_story_264234435.html

The article discusses the impact of the closure of Mayview State Hospital on community based mental health services.

Troubled minds: Discharges creating treatment backlog, experts say

The Tribune-Democrat

September 20, 2008 11:43 pm

New fences at Torrance State Hospital’s fledgling criminal unit illustrate the official preparations for closing another state hospital, but local mental-health leaders say much more is needed.
Discharged state hospital patients from soon-to-be-closed Mayview State Hospital near Pittsburgh and downsized Torrance are given first priority in community programs.
The situation is creating a backlog, psychiatrists Larry Nulton and Burton Singerman say.
Not only do current facilities need expansion, but new intervention programs and treatment facilities will be required.
While the state is looking into those additions, discharges at both hospitals continue.
“The state is behind,” Nulton said at Nulton Diagnostic and Treatment Center, 214 College Park Plaza, Richland. “They should have had these programs and other supports before they deinstitutionalized.”
Closing Mayview is part of a 40-year program to move mentally ill patients out of institutions and into community settings, Deputy Welfare Secretary Joan Erney said.
Her Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services oversees the closing, working with community-based programs and local hospitals to help continue care.
“The seriously mentally ill can live very successful lives in the community if they have stable housing, support and treatment,” Erney said.
Mayview’s discharges have raised alarms in Allegheny County, where several former patients and others treated for mental illness have been involved in senseless violent crimes.
Shadyside resident Terrence Andrews told police he complained to his doctor that he felt like killing someone before he was arrested in May for the stabbing death of 18-year-old Lisa Maas.
In June, former Mayview patient Andrea Curry-Demus was accused of killing a pregnant teenage girl and cutting an infant boy from the woman’s womb.
It was among at least seven serious incidents involving former Mayview patients that triggered investigations since the state in August 2007 announced plans to close the facility by the end of this year. The investigations led to a temporary moratorium on discharges in November, and a one-month halt to new referrals to Western Psychiatric Institute of UPMC last month. Several of the discharged Mayview patients were assigned to Western Psych for follow-up.
Western Psych was just a scapegoat, Singerman insists.
“They have blamed (Western Psych) for many deaths of outpatients who were put in personal care homes after discharge from years of state hospital care, without acknowledging that closing the state hospital led to people being discharged who were too ill,” Singerman said.
“They either killed themselves or someone else because of the severity of their illness.”
Cambria County mental-health leaders agree that community environments are the least-expensive, most-effective way to treat the mentally ill.
“I think the philosophy and the theory are good,” Nulton said.
“The state has the right model. They have researched it well.”
But it’s too slow in coming, Nulton stressed, characterizing it as a “cart before the horse.”
Local advocates are pushing for more inpatient care facilities and more extensive response teams.
Memorial Medical Center’s psychiatric units often are filled because there is no facility that can accept patients ready for less intensive care, said Singerman, who chairs Memorial’s behavior health program.
Admissions at Cambria County’s long-term structured residence facility on Windy Valley Road outside Ebensburg are now limited to those being discharged from Torrence.
Singerman said what is needed is a step-down unit – a place for those who don’t need constant supervision, but aren’t ready for a group home or personal care home. His cousin, David Cutler, helped develop a step-down, or sub-acute care unit for Salem State Hospital in Oregon.
Those coming out of a short-term psychiatric hospital unit like Memorial’s can be placed in the sub-acute unit for up to three months to see if they are ready for the community or should be admitted to a state hospital. Oregon’s program was able to reduce admissions to the state hospital, Singerman said.
Newly formed Crisis Intervention Team of the Laurel Highlands is a good start, said Wendy Stewart, director of National Alliance on Mental Illness of Cambria County.
Based on the proven Memphis, Tenn., model, Laurel Highlands’ law enforcement officers have been trained to handle mental-health patients in crisis to defuse situations and get needed help.
Stewart and the psychiatrists would like local leaders to expand the program to include a 24-hour crisis stabilization unit like Memphis’, where mentally ill patients can be taken for care and evaluation. The next step would be an assertive community treatment team of professionals available 24 hours to help mentally ill people stay out of crises. The team would monitor medication and other life issues, getting help as needed.
“It’s a very expensive program to start up, but well worth sparing people the hospitalization,” Stewart said. “It’s cost effective in the end. You are keeping people out of the hospital.”

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

“State vows Mayview patients will have good care”

This article was originally printed on April 4, 2008 in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and can be seen in it’s original format at … http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_560566.html

State vows Mayview patients will have good care
The Pittsburgh area has sufficient facilities and mental health professionals to absorb the 160 people yet to be released from Mayview State Hospital by year’s end, state officials told members of a state Senate committee hearing in Pittsburgh Thursday.Estelle Richman, secretary of the Department of Public Welfare, said all patients discharged by the South Fayette hospital have a detailed case management plan begun months in advance, and teams of professionals to assist in their transition to group homes or other residential settings. She said she expects 65 patients to be discharged by July, with the remainder released by year’s end — although the process is about a month behind schedule, she said.

“No one will be removed from Mayview unless we can ensure their safe transition,” Richman said. “I have no problem going past the deadline if that’s appropriate.”

More worrisome, Richman said, is the fate of other people with mental health concerns living in the community who might not be getting care.

“The people in the state hospital we know by name, we know what they need,” Richman said. “It’s their (counterparts) that will be identified over the next year and a half that we have to make sure we have the capacity to supply housing, medical support, hospital support and community support.”An accidental death of a former Mayview patient and the suicide of another prompted the Department of Public Welfare to briefly halt Mayview discharges in the fall. A review urged enhanced monitoring of patients transferred between counties and improved coordination between jails and mental health caregivers.

Three other patients, who had been released since the August announcement of Mayview’s closure, have died — all of natural causes, said David Jones, a former Mayview CEO who is overseeing the closure for the Department of Public Welfare. Jones said those deaths correspond with the shorter-than-average life spans of the mentally ill documented in a national study.

“People with serious mental illness tend to die 25 years earlier than the general population,” Jones said. “Some are individuals with a number of debilitating medical conditions — morbid obesity, diabetes and chronic pulmonary” ailments.

Bonnie Pfister can be reached at bpfister@tribweb.com or 412-320-7886.

“Pennsylvania drops bid to privatize forensic mental-health services Cost-saving deal reached with unions”

This article is from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found in the March 21, 2008 Issue, it talks about a deal that has been reached to cut costs, but also prevent Forensics facilities in Pennsylvania from being privatized.  The articale can be read below or viewed at the following address…. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08081/866822-85.stm

Pennsylvania drops bid to privatize forensic mental-health services  Cost-saving deal reached with unions
Friday, March 21, 2008

After reaching a cost-saving agreement with union leaders, the state plans to end its efforts to privatize and consolidate forensic services in state hospitals serving people with mental illnesses.

In a statement prepared for release today, state Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle Richman said the agreement maintains quality care and continued employment for forensic center staff while providing savings to Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Forensic units provide evaluation and treatment for people in the criminal justice system.

The agreement calls for no layoffs, though officials plan to save about $1.5 million the first year by cutting positions through attrition and making salary changes for new hires, said department spokeswoman Stacey Witalec. Savings should increase in later years, she said.

Representatives of union groups praised the agreement while acknowledging that it involves concessions.

“Our members felt this was a major win,” said Mike Morrill, state unit coordinator for Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents nurses in forensic units.

“This agreement saves tax dollars without compromising public safety,” said David La Torre, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association, which had been highly critical of the privatization effort.

Other unions that worked to reach the agreement with the state included Pennsylvania Social Services Union Local 668 and the Office and Professional Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania.

The state disclosed the privatization effort last August as part of an announcement that Mayview State Hospital would close by the end of this year.

The agreement to be announced today still means the termination of forensic and other mental health services at Mayview.

Currently, the state provides forensic services at Mayview, Norristown and Warren state hospitals. The state had explored creating privately run forensic facilities at two sites, the Norristown and Torrance hospitals.

Under the new agreement, state-operated forensic services at the Warren and Norristown hospitals will continue. Once Mayview closes, forensic services there will be transferred to Torrance State Hospital.

Joe Fahy can be reached at jfahy@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1722.
First published on March 21, 2008 at 12:00 am

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