NY agency planning to close psychiatric wards

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A top state official says psychiatric wards around the state will close in the upcoming fiscal year along with one psychiatric hospital while more community-based services are established.

Office of Mental Health Executive Deputy Director Martha Schaefer Hayes says Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca will consolidate into Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

The Cuomo administration announced plans last summer to overhaul state psychiatric services over four years by consolidating 24 inpatient hospitals into 15 regional centers and establishing more outpatient service hubs.

In December, administration officials said centers in Elmira, Binghamton and Ogdensburg will remain open, but each will close a ward.

Several legislators tell Hayes they're concerned patient needs won't be met.

Hayes says Tuesday they expect to treat 3,000 more patients this way.

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