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County Executive Molinaro Lauds Legislative Support of Mental Health Services

Published: 2/17/2012

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro applauded the Dutchess County Legislature’s vote at the Wednesday, February 15th Board Meeting to accept up to $1.875 million in state funding for community based Mental Health services. 

“We thank the Dutchess County Legislature for their approval to accept this critical state funding.  The vote demonstrates Dutchess County Government’s commitment to meeting the needs of those with mental illness and addressing the challenges we now face in this arena.”

The state funding, through the New York State Office of Mental Health, will assist the county as it faces the closure of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center (HRPC) and attempts to lessen reliance on inpatient hospitalizations and re-admissions.  New York State Senator Steve Saland was instrumental in securing the funding for the County.

The funding acceptance is one component of County Executive Molinaro’s overall plan, as outlined in his State of the County address last week, to move toward a realignment of the county’s Mental Health delivery system in light of a confluence of factors including the HRPC’s closure, Medicaid redesign, the Affordable Care Act and shrinking local resources.

To assist the county as it addresses these issues and implements a plan for use of the state funding, County Executive Molinaro has reached out to the community for independent perspective assembling the newly appointed Health and Human Services Advisory Team, chaired by Astor Services Executive Director and CEO James McGuirk. The team includes broad based representation from mental health and service providers and is reviewing the mental health services plan as part of its charge to provide input to the county regarding immediate and long-term Mental Health needs.  Members of the Health and Human Services Advisory Team include:

  • Jacki Brownstein, Executive Director, MHA of Dutchess County
  • Renee Fillette, Executive Director, Grace Smith House
  • Ed Murphy, Executive Director, Hudson River Housing
  • Steve Miccio, Executive Director, PEOPLe Inc.
  • Dr. James Regan, Director, Marist College
  • Jesse Saland, LMSW, Dutchess Community College
  • Dr. Jonathan Pangia, St. Francis Hospital

Jacki Brownstein of MHA of Dutchess County said, “During this time of major changes in the NYS funding structure for mental health services and with the greater understanding of evidence based practices in mental health delivery, County Executive Molinaro is clearly making every effort to take a close look at the current Dutchess County mental health system and is seeking input from key stakeholders.  I am pleased to help in this effort and to offer our experience and knowledge gained from serving over 2000 adults a year in Dutchess County who live with major mental health disorders.”

Part of the state funding will be used to re-establish a County Mobile Crisis Team, able to respond to situations in the community and medical settings in order to best assist in providing the most appropriate treatment, services and intervention.  Portions of the funding will also be allocated to not-for-profit service providers.

“The issues we face are not only important, they are complex.   It is not simply about dollars and cents; it is about the coordination and integration of mental health services.   With the Legislature’s approval to accept the state funding and our Health and Human Services Advisory Team already at work, we can create better outcomes, improve recovery for clients, and enhance support for families and our community at large,” concluded County Executive Molinaro.