McCrory Decries Budget Maneuver that will Help Close Dix Hospital
Mayor Pat McCrory, the Republican nominee for governor, today condemned a budget change that would pave the way to quickly close Dorothea Dix Hospital. A provision requiring approval from outside inspectors before a new mental hospital could open in Butner was struck from the final state budget yesterday. The following is McCrory's reaction:
"In another secret back room meeting, the political establishment in Raleigh has arrogantly dismissed the welfare of mental health patients and decreed through the budget that the state does not have to comply with the same regulations it places on everyone else.
"Hospitals have to pass rigorous reviews, but apparently not the new mental hospital in Butner where numerous safety concerns have been raised. The Department of Health and Human Services, which is racked with scandal and over $400 million misspent in mental health, will now move forward with closing Dix Hospital and opening Central Regional without independent review.
"It appears from news reports that the department is more interested in converting patient rooms at Dix Hospital into offices than in ensuring the safety of mental patients. This culture of arrogance and corruption in state government leads to closed meetings and decisions to benefit the Raleigh establishment at the expense of our citizens.
"The lieutenant governor rejected my request for help in keeping Dix open to patients by telling me through a letter from her chief of staff that I should correspond with her campaign. Her lack of concern and arrogant refusal to join in a bipartisan attempt to help our mental health patients has led to this secret deal in the budget. It is too late now for the presiding officer of the Senate to issue political statements.
"Keeping Dix open and protecting patients is not a campaign issue. It is a moral issue to provide protection and care for our citizens who unable to protect themselves."
On June 23, McCrory wrote to Gov. Mike Easley, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight and House Speaker Joe Hackney to urge them to keep Dorothea Dix Hospital open and adequately staffed for another year. McCrory argued this would give the state's next governor the opportunity to implement necessary mental health reforms. He also called on the legislature to keep Dorothea Dix during a June 2 news conference in Raleigh.