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Closing of Inpatient Psych Care Unit Raises Concerns

Lawmaker holds hearing in New CIty on impact of changes at Good Samaritan Hospital.

The shut down of a psychiatric care program at a local hospital has sparked concern over whether Rockland has enough facilites to assist people with psychiatric problem and medical problems, according a County Legislature member.

Legislator Philip Soskin, chairman of the legislature's Multi Services Committee, has scheduled a discussion to assess the impact of the closure of Good Samaritan Hospital's Frawley Unit inpatient acute psychiatric care program in Suffern. Soskin contends the April 30 closure leaves Rockland without services to treat residents needing a combination of psychiatric and medical care. 

Outpatient services remain available through the Frawley Mental Health Outpatient Clinic.

The Rockland County Department of Mental Health operates a 43-bed psychiatric care unit at the county-run Dr. Robert L. Yeager Health Center in Pomona. However, Soskin said the county facility is not equipped to treat psychiatric patients who also need care for serious medical issues.

"I am interested to learn if the closure of the Frawley inpatient program has placed a gap in the availability of mental health services for county residents," said Soskin.  "I am aware that the county facility and Rockland Psychiatric Center can admit some patients and that Good Samaritan will refer patients to its affiliates, Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers, but that takes patients out of the county, the result of which may cause more stress for the patient and hardship for family members and their support network."

The discussion is set for the Multi Service Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 8, at 5:45 p.m., Rockland County Legislature Chambers, 11 New Hempstead Rd., New City. 

"We are obligated to make certain that these vital services, necessary to the health and wellbeing of county residents, are readily available during times of crisis," said Soskin. "I look forward to hearing from our mental health professionals as to the alternatives that have been made available for those in need."

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