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Monday, May 30, 2011 - 7:32am

Closure Of NW Ga. Mental Hospital Pushed Back

The closing of a state psychiatric hospital in Rome has delayed amid concerns that community services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled aren't ready.

Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital was scheduled to close June 30. Officials say it will remain open until at least Sept. 30 while the state rolls out new community services.

Officials say the effort is part of a push to move mentally ill and developmentally disabled people into the community under an agreement reached last fall between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Tom Wilson, spokesman for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, says that while most patients should be out of the Rome hospital by June 30, the additional time will allow flexibility in placing anyone left into community settings.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports there are currently under 100 patients being treated at Northwest Georgia Regional—down from about 180 in January. And there are 160 fewer staffers at the hospital since the beginning of the year—to now roughly 600.


Edgar Treiguts