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Clashing Views At Hearing On Rocky Hill Inmate/Mental Patient Facility

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Members of the General Assembly Public Health Committee during a meeting in Middletown. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

Members of the General Assembly Public Health Committee during a meeting in Middletown. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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In a public hearing held in Middletown, Rocky Hill lawmakers today asked a General Assembly committee to put new regulatory hurdles in front of plans to open a nursing home for infirm prison inmates and mental patients.

Many neighbors of the planned Rocky Hill facility say it will hurt their property values, and threaten their safety.

State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Patricia Rehmer says there is great need for the nursing home.

“Individuals with psychiatric disability are no more dangerous to the community than anybody else, so that I take great umbrage with,”

Rehmer says currently, it can be difficult to find nursing homes willing to take a mental patient, even if the patient has no current psychological diagnosis.

She says the first ten patients at the facility will all be dementia patients.

The bill before the Public Health Committee would create an approval process for the selection of privately-run nursing facilities for mental patients and prisoners.

The Rocky Hill facility is likely to open while the bill is still pending in the General Assembly.   One of the bill’s sponsors, Representative Antonio Guerrera, says the proposal could still be made to apply to the Rocky Hill facility.

Rehmer says once the nursing home opens, it is probably a done deal.

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