May 23, 2020 at 4:52 PM
KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan is asking Westchester Medical Center Health Network to commit to restoring 60 behavioral health beds that were shut down to make more room for treating COVID-19 patients.
In late March, the state Health Department identified the Mary’s Avenue campus of HealthAllliance of the Hudson Valley as a COVID-19 specialized care center. HealthAlliance, which is part of the WMC’s network, shut down 40 in-patient mental health beds and 20 beds dedicated to chemical dependency and detoxification to make room for a potential coronavirus patient surge.
Ryan said although the COVID-19 surge was averted, HealthAlliance has been unwilling to commit to restore any of the behavioral health beds.
In a letter to WMC president and CEO Michael Israel, Ryan said those beds will be needed because of an expected rise in mental health and substance abuse cases in the wake of the pandemic.
Ryan requested a meeting with Israel as soon as possible “to discuss and reaffirm HealthAlliance’s commitment to deliver the absolutely best quality behavioral health services to Ulster County residents, both now and in the future.”