“VSEA and our VSH members are really pleased by Governor Shumlin’s willingness to push forward on this important project, regardless of the amount of FEMA money secured. It’s no secret to anyone that we needed a new Vermont State Hospital yesterday, and VSEA thanks the Governor for pressing forward to do what is right and what is necessary.”
VSEA and Vermont State Hospital Employees Welcome Today’s Dedication of New Vermont State Hospital Grounds in Berlin
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, patients of the Vermont State Hospital were dispersed across the state to receive care in temporary facilities. Like many Vermonters after Irene, the dedicated care providers at VSH went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the continuity of care for one of Vermont’s most vulnerable populations. Today’s groundbreaking on a new Vermont State Hospital represents the State’s commitment to providing quality mental health services, and it marks important progress towards ending a difficult time for patients, providers, and the mental health community.
“The VSH workforce has been scattered across our state for more than year, and I commend all the caregivers for doing a truly admirable job throughout this interim period to ensure that Vermonters in acute mental health crisis are being served,” said Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) President John Reese. “VSEA and our VSH members are really pleased by Governor Shumlin’s willingness to push forward on this important project, regardless of the amount of FEMA money secured. It’s no secret to anyone that we needed a new Vermont State Hospital yesterday, and VSEA thanks the Governor for pressing forward to do what is right and what is necessary.”
Reese reminded that while VSEA is welcoming the building of a new State Hospital, the union and its VSH members still have concerns that the redesigned mental health system will not provide enough acute-care beds. Working with a broad coalition of mental health advocates and care providers during the last legislative session, VSEA successfully advocated to increase the proposed number of acute beds at that the new state hospital from 16 to 25. Reese notes “While VSEA is excited to move forward with the 25 bed facility, we agree with the position of the Vermont Psychiatric Association and Dr. Jay Batra, who just left his position as VSH’s medical director, that 25 beds is inadequate.”
“Today, VSEA is here to celebrate the progress that Vermont has made since Hurricane Irene. We join the governor in commending those across the state who have made this possible, especially the caregivers at VSH. We welcome a new state hospital to provide essential quality services to Vermonters who rely on the state’s mental health system” said President Reese.