BUFFALO, NY-- The Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca will soon move to grounds of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in Buffalo.
Officials say the new children's unit will still have the same number of inpatient beds, and staff will be moved to the new building with no layoffs. The new facility will also have classrooms, a gymnasium and outdoor playground.
The children residing at the facility will have no contact with adult patients at the psych center.
The Office of Mental Health issued this statement:
The Office of Mental Health (OMH) is moving forward with our plans to expand Western New York’s mental health system, improve access to care and increase the availability of much needed mental health services.
We have issued a construction bid solicitation related to the relocation of Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center from West Seneca to the grounds of Buffalo Psychiatric Center, where our agency will build a new state-of-the-art children’s inpatient unit, completely separate and secure from the adult services on the campus.
The taxpayer funds saved by this relocation will be used to greatly expand community-based mental health services throughout the region, while maintaining the same number of inpatient beds and employing the same staff. With the additional $3.2 million in total annual funding made possible by this move, OMH will be able to serve up to 1,000 new children and families in Western New York, strengthen the mental health system, and most importantly, provide children with the support they need to live happy and healthy lives.
But, not everyone is happy about the move. NYS Senator Patrick Gallivan (R) and NYS Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (D) is calling on Governor Cuomo and NYS to keep the children's facility in West Seneca.
"Efforts by the Office of Mental Health to close this center and move these patients to an adult oriented facility like the Buffalo Psychiatric Center make no sense,” Gallivan said in a statement. “I have worked with families of patients, mental health experts and others who believe such a move will jeopardize the mental health and wellbeing of children who receive care at the West Seneca location. These adolescent patients deserve and require special treatment in an environment that allows them and their families to feel safe and comfortable.”
“It is not a difficult decision to permanently keep this facility in West Seneca,” said Assemblymember Kearns. “On virtually every metric this institution excels and exceeds other similar institutions in New York State. WNYCPC has the lowest 30 and 90 day readmission rates in all of New York State. This is important from a long term cost perspective because readmissions for mental health case over the course of a lifetime can result in many thousands of dollars for the treatment of a single person. The savings to New York State are long term and real. Not keeping the facility in this setting is pennywise and pound foolish, because it overlooks the long term savings and the input and voices of those treated by the state and surroundings.”
According to Gallivan and Kearns, the West Seneca facility was opened in 1970 to treat the specific needs of children with mental health issues.