WCAX News - Who's to Blame for State Hospital Woes?
Bridget Barry Caswell
Independent Anthony Pollina took aim at Gov. Jim Douglas Thursday for what he calls a failure to support the Vermont State Hospital and mental health services.
The state hospital in Waterbury just failed to win back federal certification from Medicaid and Medicare again. The group says the facility still has significant deficiencies despite efforts to improve conditions.
Pollina says the Douglas Administration mishandled those efforts and accused the governor of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars because of the loss of those federal reimbursements.
"We're wasting taxpayer money. We're undermining needed services, in this case mental health services. We're undermining providers as well as patients and staff and we're costing taxpayers a lot of money by the Douglas Administration's unwillingness or inability to act," Pollina said.
Pollina says the Legislature is also to blame for a lack of movement on a new or improved state hospital. And that's what the Governor's office says, too. It's blaming Gaye Symington and her super majority in the legislature. The Administration also says its commitment to mental health care is reflected in a 90-percent funding increase since 2003.