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Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 6:00am

S. Ga. State Hospital Closes By Year's End

State officials have announced the Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville will close at the end of the year.

Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities officials made the announcement Wednesday. Patients being treated at the hospital — which serves people with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and various addictions — will be served in various facilities throughout the region.

State lawmakers in 2011 passed legislation ending admissions to state hospitals for anyone whose primary diagnosis was a developmental disability.

Department spokesman Matt Carrothers says the agency is working to establish individualized service plans with patients and their families.

Carrothers says about 600 hospital employees will be impacted by the closure and the department will work with contract providers to help find employment.

Thomasville is about 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee, Fla.

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