Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs’ Statement on Kingsboro Psychiatric Center Closure
March 1, 2012
My colleagues and I in the Assembly Brooklyn Delegation are fighting the Berger Commission's recommendation to close one of the most important hospitals in Brooklyn. The Kingsboro Psychiatric Center is the only state psychiatric hospital in Brooklyn, the largest borough in New York serving the community since 1895. If Kingsboro closes, the large population of mentally challenged patients and their families would be forced to travel over two hours to Staten Island via public transportation to secure needed services. Due to the severity of their illness, most of these patients would get lost in the system as they are unable to navigate traveling by themselves. It would also be an undue burden on family members in assisting their loved ones in accessing quality care. If Kingsboro closes, thousands of Brooklynites (and others) both inpatient and outpatient will have their ongoing treatment disrupted and many will lose access to quality care. In addition, health care workers and mental health professionals will lose their jobs. The Governor's budget proposes language to allow the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to close the Kingsboro Psychiatric Center. The budget also gives OMH the authority to consolidate children's psychiatric centers in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and it further gives OMH the authority to close or downsize any other mental health facility without giving the required 12 months prior notice. As the state budget process progresses, my colleagues and I are working together to save this institution (and others) from ill-advised closure. I firmly believe closing Kingsboro would further damage the Brooklyn economy by creating massive job losses and would also damage the already distressed quality of life for patients and their families. I can assure all involved of my support as I continue to fight on behalf of our community – as we work to persuade the Governor that this budget proposal is harmful and the wrong thing to do.