Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rep. Reichly Upset With Decision to Close Allentown State Hospital

Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Berks/Lehigh), vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after today's announcement from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Acting Secretary Harriet Dichter that the Allentown State Hospital will be closed on Dec. 31, 2010:
"This is a regrettable action by DPW for many reasons. I am very disappointed the department made this decision unilaterally, without consulting local legislators first, and is holding a public hearing to get the input of the patients and workers affected, only after this decision was already made. That hearing will be nearly a month after the closure date announced today. It is obvious that the decision to close this facility was pre-set. It was based more on DPW budgetary issues than on patient care considerations, the impact on patients' families from this dislocation of treatment, or the welfare of the employees who have loyally served these patients for many years.

"I do not believe DPW adequately considered how this closure will affect the 175 patients and their families, or the nearly 380 employees of the Allentown State Hospital who may now have to battle other employees with more seniority for jobs at the facilities where the Allentown patients will be transferred.

"I am disappointed that DPW seems not to have considered keeping the facility open by bringing in patients from other state hospitals.

"I understand the department's need for streamlining its budget, but in doing so, we should not endanger the continuity of mental health treatment for patients now living at the facility. I am concerned this action could disrupt the stability and care so necessary for these individuals with mental disabilities."
To read the press release from the state, follow the link below:

Department of Public Welfare to Close Allentown State Hospital

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