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Senate and Assembly committees plan hearing in Ogdensburg to discuss future of Psych Center

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OGDENSBURG — Members of the state Senate and Assembly will hold a joint hearing to discuss the Office of Mental Health plan to redesign inpatient services across New York on Sept. 17 at City Hall.

OMH has proposed moving child inpatient care services from the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center to Utica and moving adult care services to Syracuse as part of a broad plan to create 15 regional centers of excellence.

The hearing will include members of the Assembly and Senate Standing Committees on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Senate Standing Committee on Health.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, said she hopes members of the committees will understand “that access is going to be very problematic for people in our community because of the sheer distance” if inpatient care is moved to Utica and Syracuse.

Charles W. Kelly, chairman of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force, urged residents to band together to persuade the state to make Ogdensburg a regional center of excellence.

“I want the people here to speak frankly about the situation so the legislators get the voice of the north country,” he said. “Anybody can come and speak and give their views on the proposal.”

Mrs. Russell said people should sign up to speak at the hearing by the end of this week. She said people can call her office at 786-0284 to sign up. Each speaker will get 10 minutes.

“It’s important that we have a diverse group of people testifying,” she said.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers, 330 Ford St.

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