Middlesex mental health facility formally opens

The state of Vermont officially opened the Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence to patients Wednesday.

The $2 million secure psychiatric facility is meant to be a transitional home for patients who don’t need acute care, but aren’t quite ready to return to everyday life, due to legal issues or treatment needs. It will cost the state roughly $3 million a year to operate.

The seven-bed home is part of the state’s $43 million construction plan for a regional mental health system, which was created after Tropical Storm Irene destroyed the state’s 54-bed psychiatric hospital in Waterbury. Since then, state officials have scrambled to find open beds to treat psychiatric patients, and they say the central Vermont facility is necessary to better meet patient demand.

“I am proud of the progress we have made since Tropical Storm Irene dealt our state such a devastating blow towards building the best community-based mental health system in the country,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a public statement. “This secure, seven-bed facility will give some of our most vulnerable citizens the opportunity to recover in a home setting rather than a hospital room. It will also relieve some of the strain on our hospitals, which have stepped up to fill the gap so much during the past 22 months.”

Frank Reed, acting commissioner of the Department of Mental Health, said that construction of perimeter fencing would be ongoing and the home would not be filled to capacity until August.

“We’re trying to ramp up slowly, learning from experience as we go along,” Reed said about the secure residence, the first of its kind in Vermont.

For more on the facility, read here. To learn about the trials and tribulations the state’s mental health system encountered last year, read VTDigger’s overview.

Andrew Stein

Comments

  1. Bonnie MacBrien :

    I was told that his facility does not have any cooking facilities and that the state has to pay for all these meals to be catered. Is this true? If so, that seems like a big cost that could have been avoided.
    Other than that, I am so pleased that we finally have a small start to supporting our fellow community members when they need it.

  2. Matthew Choate :

    $3 million a year to run a 7-bed facility? That’s $1,175 per day per room which seems a terribly high price to pay. I can understand construction costs as there are special requirements for facilities to handle psychiatric clients, but this annual budget seems quite high for such a small facility.

  3. Curtis Sinclair :

    That’s $428,000 per bed per year. More than beds cost at the old VSH. Voluntary community treatment would be more effective and less expensive.

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