Massive cutbacks to Massachusetts mental health services have taken effect as of Thanksgiving, including the elimination of 170 mental health care positions, restrictions placed on access to residential programs, and refusal of new admissions to state psychiatric hospitals.
The shocking move by Republican governor Romney to withhold $425 million previously approved by the state Legislature has been condemned by many, but it is unlikely any reversal will be made until the new Governor-elect takes office in January. It appears the Grinch is stealing Christmas even with Whoville up in arms.
“These are the unkindest cuts imaginable, and their timing is hard to fathom,” said Massachusetts Hospital Association President Ron Hollander.
As of November 22nd, a vulnerable population of severely ill patients will be denied care over the holidays, a peak time of year for mental health crises. Among the 170 staff positions cut are those that provided care to children and adolescents; hundreds of emotionally fragile Cindy-Lou Who’s abandoned.
Personally, as a Canadian I don’t like to get involved in American politics, but this is one of these instances I just have to shake my head and wonder at the bizarre mental health system y’all have. Patients used as pawns in budget squabbles between political parties, with little if any concern for their health. WTF?