State Announces Plan to Close Norristown State Hospital
The PA Department of Human Services and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has announced plans to convert the existing beds at Norristown State Hospital to “forensic” beds – meaning existing individuals in the hospital that do not have criminal justice involvement will have to be removed from the hospital. Please read the press release below.
PUBLIC HEARING ON CLOSING/CONVERSION OF NORRISTOWN STATE HOSPITAL
Jan 31, 2017 2:30 – 5:00 PM
Norristown State Hospital, Bldg # 33 | 1001 Sterigere Street, Norristown PA
ALL ARE ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM PA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2017
Department of Human Services to Help More People to Live in the Community
Norristown State Hospital – Civil Section
DHS operates six state hospitals with services for individuals with mental illness. In the last 20 years, the state hospital population has decreased by 70 percent, from nearly 5,000 people to 1,568 (1,107 in civil units, 159 in the restoration center, 237 in forensic units, and 65 in the Sexual Responsibility and Treatment Program) today.
Norristown’s civil unit currently serves 122 individuals.
During the closure process, DHS will also temporarily repurpose some civil beds at Norristown to create “forensic step down or transition” beds for those individuals committed through the criminal justice system to the forensic section of the Norristown campus. By repurposing the civil beds, DHS will improve the timeliness and quality of treatment for individuals needing forensic restoration services to enable them to return to referring jurisdictions or transition to other appropriate levels of care;
DHS will hold a public hearing from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at 1001 Sterigere St., Norristown Hospital, Building 33 in Norristown to accept comment about the closure of civil beds and changes in forensic operations from stakeholders, officials and the community. Those wishing to provide comments are asked to register by contacting Helen Brennan at 610.313.1014 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comment can be submitted via email to RA-PWOMHSASComm@pa.gov.
DHS has established a toll-free number for family members of residents of Norristown State Hospital to use during the repurposing process. Family members will be able to speak with staff from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 1.877.692.1267 or through continued communication with their family member’s treatment team.
Prior to leaving either facility, individuals will participate in a series of assessments and planning meetings in order to determine their level of need for services and support as they look toward a successful life in the community or with family. The assessment and planning process will ensure that their new homes are both safe, appropriate, and supportive and will include the individual and their family in that process.
The transition is about choice and providing people with options. DHS will hold several sessions over the course of the next few months to ensure that each individual, family member, and decision maker is fully informed of all available options and that they have the opportunity to meet with potential providers and explore all potential options.
The department will work to provide both hospital and center staff viable employment opportunities at other state-operated facilities or with new or existing community programs.
“All Pennsylvanians deserve the right to choose where they live – with family, friends, and neighbors in communities where everyone is welcome,” said Dallas.
For more information regarding the closure and the repurposing, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Kostelac, 717.425.7606
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