Gotham Gazette

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Office of Mental Health

Office of Mental Health

  • State Aims to Reinstate Hundreds of Psychiatric Beds Shifted During Pandemic

    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

    Medical evaluation (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    New York State is looking to reinstate all of the roughly 400 beds in the state's inpatient psychiatric system that were converted to medical beds at the start of the pandemic two years ago. But there is a long road to restore them despite mounting pressure from elected officials, representatives of the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) told lawmakers at a joint state legislative budget hearing Monday.

    "Across the state there have been

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  • Covid Surge in State Psychiatric Centers Kills Two Patients in January, Hundreds Remain Infected

    rockland psychiatric center main buildings

    Rockland Psychiatric Center (photo: @Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons)


    The winter COVID-19 surge in state-run psychiatric centers has continued, killing two patients in January and with roughly 200 patients still infected as of February 2.

    The facilities, 24 in all, are home to New Yorkers deemed to have severe mental illnesses that require segregation from the community and/or on-site treatment. There are currently 4,400

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  • State Psychiatric Facilities, Home to Especially Vulnerable Patients, Hit with Another Covid Surge

    mhpc

    Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center (photo: omh.ny.gov)


    State-run psychiatric hospitals have been engulfed by this winter's coronavirus surge, casting one of the most vulnerable populations back into the pandemic's path and miring the state agency responsible for them.

    Confirmed covid cases among patients and staff living and working in the state's 24 inpatient psychiatric centers have been ticking up for the last several weeks before jumping significantly more recently, mirroring the trend around the state.

    In less than two weeks, from December 20 to January 2, the

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  • State Allows Psychiatric Facilities to Forcibly Vaccinate Patients Against COVID-19

    avail ob emer

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York State Office of Mental Health quietly issued guidance in April allowing psychiatric centers to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 over patient objections and without a court order in a unusual break from treatment protocols. The policy makes psychiatric patients in state custody one of the only adult populations in New York subject to forcible vaccination.

    The guidance, issued April 22, is a "clarification" giving hospital staff discretion to administer the vaccine without consent, an

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  • During Pandemic Peak, Psychiatric Patients Were Rushed Into Institutions

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    A state psychiatric hospital (photo: Office of Mental Health)


    As New York State hospitals began to fear the worst last spring -- that the pace of the coronavirus would overtake their ability to discharge patients and clear beds -- they had to decide what to do with people being admitted for acute psychiatric care.

    In the second week of March 2020, only 325 New Yorkers had tested positive for COVID-19 but images from abroad and the pace of infection outlined a worrying forecast. By the end of the week, New York would confirm its first casualty from a virus

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  • Covid Toll at State Psychiatric Facilities Has Remained Disproportionately High

    Gotham Gazette:

    Kingsboro Psychiatric Center (photo: New York State Office of Mental Health)


    One-fifth of patients in state-run inpatient psychiatric centers have contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak began last March, and 58 out of a total 8,200 individuals admitted to those institutions have died, according to new data provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) after a Gotham Gazette inquiry. The facilities embody one of several types of congregate living settings where residents are more vulnerable to the virus, and while they have smaller populations and

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  • Coronavirus Death Toll at State Psychiatric Facilities Climbs Quickly

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    Kingsboro Psychiatric Center (photo: New York State Office of Mental Health)


    The death toll from the novel coronavirus at state psychiatric facilities is rising, according to what scant official figures are available, hinting at a nightmare unfolding inside some of New York's least visible institutions. In just over a week, the number of residents confirmed to have died from the virus has tripled, according to data provided by the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), which runs the 23 centers.

    Thirty residents are dead and another seven are suspected to have died

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  • 10 Dead, Hundreds Infected as State Psychiatric Facilities Become Another Crisis Point in Coronavirus Outbreak

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    Manhattan Psychiatric Center, Wards Island (photo: @nicknormal via Flickr)


    Ten people have died of coronavirus and another 193 have tested positive among the nearly 3,500 residents living in state-run inpatient psychiatric facilities, according to officials, making them one of the hardest hit institutional settings per capita in New York State. Another 283 staff that work at the state's 23 centers have tested positive for COVID-19, which has killed well over 13,000 people across the state.

    After inquiries, the information was provided to Gotham Gazette on

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