ATLANTA - Adult mental health services at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia, are being permanently moved to other hospitals within the state’s behavioral health system, the state agency in charge of the hospital announced today. The hospital will continue serving people with developmental disabilities, those in its nursing home, and those in its maximum security forensic facility, which serves people referred for treatment by the courts. Since November 2009, people in the areas served by Central State who needed hospitalization have received care at other state facilities instead. Based on their needs and the clinical assessment of their doctors, planning has begun to move the remaining few adult mental health consumers at Central State to other hospitals or discharge them back to their communities by March 1.
“While we originally stopped new admissions to Central State to fix problems related to safety and treatment at the hospital, what we’ve found through that process is that other hospitals have been well able to accommodate those individuals,” said Dr. Frank Shelp, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).
The move to consolidate hospital services where possible is part of the department’s larger strategy of improving the state’s behavioral health system so that it’s more weighted towards community-based services while still retaining a role for hospitals in providing acute care. Under its Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the federal government, the state of Georgia has worked to move more people out of institutions and provide them with services to help them live independently in their own communities.
Approximately 200 employees at Central State will be affected by the change in services. DBHDD’s Office of Human Resources and the hospital’s leadership will work with staff to identify other opportunities at Central State and other hospitals that remain understaffed in key areas.