Lawmakers address plan to close Mass. hospital
BOSTON—House lawmakers are backing Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to close a state psychiatric hospital in Taunton, but are calling on state officials to partially offset the loss with 30 new inpatient mental health beds in southeastern Massachusetts.
The state budget amendment approved late Tuesday night also calls for a special commission to evaluate the state's entire mental health care system.
The measure represents a compromise with opponents of Patrick's plan to shutter the 169-bed Taunton State Hospital -- the only facility of its kind in the region -- and move most patients to a new state hospital opening in Worcester.
The 30 new beds called for under the budget amendment would be at vendor-operated facilities in southeastern Massachusetts.
Debate on the $32.3 billion state spending plan resumes on Wednesday.