The announcement on January 13 that Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital will close on June 30 shocked not only the employees of the hospital but just about everyone else in the Rome area. No one knew that closure was being considered. Some conjected that United States Department of Justice and State of Georgia settlement (October 2010) dictated closing state hospitals. This was a wrong assumption. Other rumors surfaced--budget considerations, ample community-based services already exist in Region 1 (31-counties in north Georgia), etc. As of the posting of this petition (February 5), no concrete answer has been offered.
The settlement lists many new community-based services that are to be in place prior to the hospital closure. While these new programs have been sought by mental health advocates for years, it is questionable that they can be fielded before closing hospital beds. Simply, there has been little to no community input as to the location of these new services.
Advocates fear that there will still be long waits in emergency rooms before finding a bed for individuals in crisis and that local jails will still house individuals with mental illnesses because they were unable to access quality community-based services. The are leary about the state providing "real" supportive employment and supportive housing. Past history predicts future actions. Therefore, advocates, families, and consumers of mental health services must be convinced that anything "new" will truly work. We feel that by signing this petition, our voice of concern will be expressed to those this petition addresses.
Please sign and let others know how important it is.