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State will hold a meeting in Ogdensburg on plans to downsize inpatient mental health services

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OGDENSBURG — The state Office of Mental Health has added Ogdensburg to a list of sites officials will visit to gather input on a plan to reduce inpatient services for the mentally ill and develop a greater variety of outpatient supports.

OMH officials will hold a public “listening tour” meeting from 10 a.m. to noon May 15 at the Unity Center on the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center campus, 1 Chimney Point Drive.

As part of its push to reduce the number of inpatient mental health beds in the state, OMH on its website points out that New York has far more inpatient psychiatric hospitals than more populous states: 24 hospitals for the state’s population of roughly 18 million compared to five hospitals in California for its population of roughly 37 million.

The state has so far not proposed that any hospitals close, but Civil Service Employees Association Labor Relations Specialist Edward B. “Bud” Mulchy said the union’s roughly 400 members at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center are rightfully worried.

“We are keeping an eye on it,” he said Thursday. “They are always concerned when it comes to these political decisions.”

He said CSEA will be well represented at the May 15 meeting.

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