BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The New York State Assembly and Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday to block the merger of the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric center with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center for adults.
The possible merger has been a topic of discussion for several months. The state’s 2017-2018 budget set aside $11 million to renovate the Buffalo Psychiatric Center to accommodate four dozen children in the coming year, but lawmakers and others had concerns about the merger putting children in danger, or that they would not receive proper care if they were living with adults.
New York State Assemblyman Mickey Kearns (D-West Seneca) has been supportive of keeping the West Seneca-based children’s center open.
He said that he spoke with experts on the topics during budget discussions in the assembly.
“I talked about the governor’s proposal [to merge the psychiatric centers] and they said that this should not be done,” Kearns said.
Research shows that children should be treated for psychiatric needs at their own place, such as the Children’s Psychiatric Center, added Senator Patrick Gallivan, (R-59) said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo needs to make the final decision on the bill to keep the West Seneca facility open.
Kearns and Gallivan have both said that they’re prepared to veto the governor’s decision if he says no.