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Mental Health Director Defends Canceling Cleveland Hospital

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 4:56 PM

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Sparks flew on 90.3's Sound of Ideas, over the state's decision to cancel plans for a new Mental Health hospital to be built in Mid-town Cleveland. The official who made that decision defended it on the program, while local mental health advocates called for reconsideration. Ideastream's Rick Jackson reports

Tracy Plouck has only been Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health since January, but did not shy away from taking responsibility for the change in plans - which includes not just canceling construction of a new hospital, but closing the current Cleveland facility and transferring its patients to Summit County. 

She says her decision is economically sound.

TRACY PLOUCK:
“Consolidating the hospitals at the Northfield Campus now will save at least $4M a year in FY12 and FY13, and that represents operating dollars that I would not have to reduce out of community services.”

And, Plouck says, expanding an existing hospital; rather than building a new one, will save 30 million in capital improvements. 
But other guests were irritated by the decision, including the Medical Director of the psychiatric ER at Saint Vincent Charity Hospital.
Doctor Leslie Koblentz is among local doctors upset that the thousands of patients who live in Cleveland will not be hospitalized close to home.

DR. LESLIE KOBLENTZ:
Folks are not comfortable with something that’s out of their environment. Clinically, I am very worried about sending patients away. You’re taking somebody who is in a crisis period, and now you’re going to transport them 15 miles away.”

Plus, Cleveland officials say they’ve already spent more than four million dollars preparing a site on Euclid Avenue for the new hospital. 
But Plouck essentially closed the door on maintaining ANY facilities in Cleveland, There is speculation that private facilities could offer assistance - but no one is sure just how `that’ would be funded.

To hear the entire program, just click the Sound of Ideas Link.

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Health, Mental Health

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