Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital’s fate undecided

    The future of New Jersey’s Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital is hanging in the balance, and a task force evaluating whether the facility should be closed will be smaller.

    The future of New Jersey’s Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital is hanging in the balance, and a task force evaluating whether the facility should be closed will be smaller.

    After Governor Chris Christie proposed closing the 310-bed facility in March, New Jersey legislators passed a bill to form a task force evaluating all five state hospitals, and the current and long-term need for psychiatric beds. Christie last week stopped this proposal with a conditional veto.

    Assembly woman Valerie Huttle who chairs the Human Services Committee says now the task force will evaluate just Hagedorn:

    Huttle: The original bill wanted to examine all of the psychiatric centers and develop a comprehensive plan which I continue to think and know New Jersey needs, because to evaluate one without looking at the others, frankly, is going to be difficult.

    Hagedorn serves a mostly geriatric population, and patients would have to be relocated to other hospitals or into community care setting in case of a closing. Judy Remington from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health Agencies says a representative from her organization will be part of the task force, and will question who will treat patients if Hagedorn is closed.

    Remington: Currently the community system can not meet the demand that exists at this point, so the task force really should examine the impact on community based services and ensure the plan provides for sufficient access for those who are released from the institution

    The task force has to submit its recommendations by February, and the fate of Hagedorn will be decided in June of 2011.

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