No measures should be off limits when it comes to the restoration and repair of Maine’s failing mental health services – and that includes creative legislative proposals like the one sponsored by state Sen. Russell Black.
In response to the crisis of young patients languishing in hospital rooms and emergency rooms ill-equipped to care for them, Black’s proposal would require the Department of Health and Human Services to establish “secure children’s psychiatric residential treatment facility services” for patients with behavioral health and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
No such facility exists in Maine, putting our young people with severe mental illness or developmental disabilities at a very grave disadvantage.
The damage caused by this oversight is hard to quantify, exactly, but easy to follow; it works against the young people in question; it prevents hospitals from being able to get on with their day-to-day responsibilities; it works against any Mainer in need of a bed or a medical professional, and it puts additional strain on a system already under immense strain.
We applaud the spirit of the Black proposal, born out of deep frustration and dissatisfaction with the harmful limbo to which vulnerable young Mainers are being resigned.
Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services has opposed the bill on the basis that it’s already in the process of introducing psychiatric residential treatment facilities and improving MaineCare reimbursement rates for providers, which is expected to support the expansion of services…