Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 10, 2013

A band-aid in a crisis?

-- — The announcement Monday by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities that a crisis stabilization center will be built in Lowndes County is good news for some, not so great for others.

The announcement came with other news delivered by State Commissioner Frank Berry, including that only about half of the current employees at Southwestern State Hospital will end up with a chance at one of the jobs that will be filled at the two new crisis centers, including one in Thomas County and the expansion of the one in Albany, in addition to the various group facilities that will be built.

Also, at capacity, the three centers will only accommodate less than a third of those currently treated at Southwestern each month.

Yes, there are a handful of other facilities, and yes, individuals with mental-health and substance-abuse issues will be better served close to home, so those in Lowndes County will be better off but those in 21 of the 24 counties in the DBHDD District 4 still have to leave their local communities for acute care.

And yes, those who are having issues which require non-medical treatment can be taken straight to the crisis center, and won’t have to go into the local emergency rooms.

All of the changes announced by the state are in reaction to a Department of Justice ruling governing treatment and care at state facilities, particularly for those with developmental disabilities. The state isn’t being forced to close the hospitals, but appears to be doing so to trim personnel costs, with less than half of those currently employed at Southwestern even having the opportunity to move to another facility. The rest of the jobs will just go away.

And given that it takes an estimated $80,000 above the purchase price of a house to retrofit it to become a group home, another of the state’s initiatives to accommodate some of the individuals being turned out of the hospitals, the price tag for these initiatives is going to skyrocket just to pay for the new facilities and to operate them.

It seems more prudent to actually build the new crisis centers and group homes and slowly transfer patients from the hospital to the new units than to shut the hospital down in six months with no facilities constructed.

Perhaps the GDBHDD should rethink the timing and scope of these changes.

While those with developmental disabilities and substance-abuse issues are generally non-violent and pose no threat to themselves or others, the same can’t be said for all those currently served in the state system.

Until the state comes up with a long-term plan to deal with those who are a danger, building short-term crisis centers seems like just another band-aid on a much larger issue.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Regional shopping makes sense

    This weekend is the tax-free holiday in Georgia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Focus now on what lies within

    Forty-three years ago the federal mandate to desegregate Valdosta City Schools was necessary.

    July 30, 2014

  • The Times belongs to you

    The Valdosta Daily Times belongs to you. As we move forward with new leadership in our newsroom, we want you to know about our continued commitment to the communities we serve.

    July 28, 2014

  • The art of plenty to do

    In Sunday’s paper, readers found an extensive list of shows, exhibits, concerts and more for the upcoming arts seasons in Valdosta-Lowndes County.

    July 27, 2014

  • The power of One

    Christine Batson wondered the same thing that many people wonder.

    July 26, 2014

  • Thumbs Up

    THUMBS UP: To Air Force Lt. Col. David Rayman. The 75th Fighter Squadron commander recently logged 3,000 flight hours in the A-10C Thunderbolt II. A rare feat. In presenting a Moody Air Force Base story on his accomplishment in The Times, it’s good to see the face and know the name of one of the many pilots who cross our South Georgia skies. Congratulations on 3,000 and thank you for your service.

    July 26, 2014

  • Closing another summer chapter

    The South Georgia Regional Library brings its 2014 summer reading program to a close this weekend with an event that celebrates readers and writers.

    July 24, 2014

  • Countdown for voter apathy

    If you don’t think your vote counts, talk to Ellis Black and John Page today.

    July 24, 2014

  • Vote to remove signs

    Congratulations to the winners in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

  • Runoff election counts today

    Today is an election day that started just a little more than two months ago.

    July 21, 2014

Top News

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results