Comptroller Peter Franchot has called for the reopening of the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center. Franchot believes the center, which was closed in 2010 to save money, should not have been closed. This came during a Board of Public Works meeting on Wednesday, May 13, in which Franchot questioned the Deputy Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene Bernard Simons about opening discussions with the department about the feasibility of reopening the center. As reported in The Cecil Whig:
He called the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center an “exceptional facility” that should have never been closed — a sentiment echoed by Eastern Shore lawmakers.
The topic has circled among Eastern Shore lawmakers for years, who have discussed the hospital’s importance since its closure. Senate Minority Whip Steve Hershey (R-Upper Shore) and Delegate Jay Jacobs (R-Kent), who has unsuccessfully put in a number of bills mandating the hospital’s reopening, responded to Franchot’s statements on Friday.
“With the heroin overdose epidemic being a huge problem on the Eastern Shore and statewide, it has become both obvious and imperative that the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center should be reopened,” Hershey said.
Hershey said Franchot has been a proponent of the mental health center, and that lawmakers met with him last year seeking his support for their advocacy efforts and he assured them he would do what he could to reopen it.
The 40-bed facility was the only facility in the state hospital system to offer treatment for patients with dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health illness, Hershey said, adding that its closing left many patients in the community without care.
For more information read the full article in The Cecil Whig.