Legislation Passed to Help WNY Children's Psych Center

Bill to block merger with Buffalo Psych Center now in hands of Gov. Cuomo

Mike Baggerman
June 16, 2017 - 12:15 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WBEN) – Assemblyman Michael Kearns and State Senator Patrick Gallivan announced that legislature passed both houses to halt the merger of the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center and the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

“I’m very happy today but I know there’s a lot of work to be done,” Kearns said. “We need the governor to sign the bill to save the children. It comes down to that. If he signs the bill he will save lives. We’ve been working on this for over four years.”

The bill passed through the State Assembly on Thursday while it passed the State Senate a week ago.

According to a release provided by Kearns and Gallivan, the Office of Mental Health planned to close the WNYCPC in West Seneca and move the services to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, which caters to adults.

“When you look at the data that shows this center has the lowest re-institutionalization rate in the state and has over 99.9 percent national accreditation score and is looked upon as a center of excellence and that there’s no clinical data that can point to sending kids to an adult campus,” Gallivan said. “My biggest concern is that the governor has not looked at all these things. I don’t know if it’s him or if he’s getting this information or not but we’re calling on him to sign this legislation. If he vetoes this legislation, we’ll be approaching our legislative leaders to ask them to override the veto.”

Gallivan encourages people to contact the governor’s office to “demand” he sign the legislation into law.

Kearns threatened a lawsuit against the governor if he vetoes the bill.

“We’ve done a lot of research and we believe there is merit for a lawsuit,” Kearns said. “I’ve talked about that in the past. Advocates have talked to attorneys and they have someone they’re going to retain. They’re already preparing for a veto. I just hope it doesn’t come to that and we could use taxpayer money better in helping our children.”

Once the bill is presented to Governor Cuomo he has ten days to sign it into law or veto it. If he does neither, it will automatically become law.

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