Psych unit shutdown of concern

By GAYLE COULTER State Journal Staff Writer Published:

Much to the chagrin of members of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), Frankfort Regional Medical Center has received permission to convert its 12 psychiatric beds to acute-care beds.

Local and state members of NAMI attended an administrative hearing Monday before the Certificate of Need (CON) office of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services to protest Frankfort Regional's request to convert the 12 psychiatric beds formerly known as "Turning Point" into acute-care beds like the facility's other 163 beds.

Frankfort NAMI president Dan Quisenberry explained that he and the other NAMI members were there to ask the hospital to keep the psychiatric beds or at least a portion of them.

"We have to have some place for our loved ones with a brain disorder to be treated," Quisenberry said. "Mental illness is a complete life-changing event. You never know when a psychotic episode might occur and they need to have proper care available."

An attorney for the hospital, Michael Baker, of Wyatt, Tarrant and Combs, said that it was important for NAMI members to realize that the hearing was to decide whether Frankfort Regional would be allowed to convert the beds or would be forced to lose them altogether because Turning Point had officially been shut down June 30, 2002, and the hospital was not going to reopen it.

For more on this story, see today's State Journal.

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