Out of the Hospital, Into the Community

By: Adam Kramer
By: Adam Kramer

Gov. Warner presents his state budget this week, but there was an advance look at one proposal. Warner wants the state to close wings in five of its mental hospitals, and one Valley facility is on that list. Changes are in the works for Western State Hospital in Staunton.

Although there are some shakeups on the way for Western State, no jobs or state money will be lost. Gov. Warner's plan will shift patients from Western State to community-based care programs in the Staunton-Augusta County area.

Western State officials say two groups will be transported out of the facility within the next two years. John Beghtol says, "Twenty-four people will be moving to three different group homes in the community and that will be funded by Western State match money to bring federal Medicare match money. The other group will be 25 long term mentally ill clients that are able to live in the community with support."

The patients who will be relocated are not considered a danger to themselves or others. Beghtol also says because of attrition and retirement, Western State will not have to cut any positions.

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