Support Freeze Unsafe Closures Now ACT

A. 8294B Lupardo/S. 5986B Libous

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ON ASSEMBLY MENTAL HEALTH COMMITTEE 6/3/14

PASS THE “FREEZE UNSAFE CLOSURES NOW ACT”

A. 8294B Lupardo/S. 5986B Libous

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union workers and their families as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above-referenced legislation.

This bill would place a moratorium on closures and consolidations of facilities operated by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) until April 1, 2017.

This legislation is necessary because the state has announced plans to close and consolidate numerous OMH and OPWDD facilities.  Closing these facilities and transferring care to private not-for-profit entities will reduce the quality of care and turn good family-sustaining jobs with benefits into jobs that pay substandard wages, often without even the most basic benefits.  Further, under the closure plan, remaining in-patient facilities will be geographically concentrated thus drastically limiting accessibility for some regions of the state.  Moreover, the state continues to close and consolidate facilities without sharing a comprehensive plan to ensure state-provided services to serve as a backstop in areas of need.  As a result, continued closures will result in increased reliance on emergency rooms, jails and prisons to provide mental health care, all of which are ill-equipped to do so.

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.