Utica – Doctors, nurses, counselors and therapists at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center (MVPC), represented by the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF), rallied today in front of the Utica State Office Building on Genesee Street. The health care providers protested the elimination of long term adult inpatient services for the mentally ill in Oneida County that will result from the closure of the adult inpatient wards at MVPC.
PEF members were joined by members of the Civil Service Employees Association and concerned residents, as well as state Senator Joseph Griffo and Assembly Member Anthony Brandisi as they chanted, marched and waved signs to draw public awareness and support.
PEF Vice President Pat Baker said, “This rally brings to light not only the loss of 140 jobs, closures and shifting of services at Mohawk Valley, but the need to focus on the bigger picture. What will happen to individuals who fall through the cracks and are not relocated? What about the families who won’t be able to travel the 60 to 90 miles to other facilities to see their loved ones?”
“The Utica area has depended on the quality of care administered at Mohawk Valley PC for its mentally-ill population,” said PEF’s Regional Coordinator in Oneida County Kevin Conley. “The state has announced the transfer or release of patients by May 7. Clearly the state does not have the best interest of these individuals in mind.”
“We would like to know why this decision was made,” said the PEF council leader at Mohawk Valley Jeanette St. Mary. “None of the information we requested as to where the savings would be realized due to the closure and shifting, has been forthcoming. We need to raise awareness in this community that this decision by Commissioner Michael Hogan is not prudent or fiscally sound.
“The bottom line is many of these patients have exhausted community placement because of their behavior or illnesses or both, and they require an inpatient level of care. They won’t be able to sustain themselves in any outpatient community setting. We need to get this decision reversed,” St. Mary said.