MV chamber wants to grow MV Psychiatric in Utica

AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE — The entrance to Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, surrounded by greenery. Local advocates argue that the center could economically house more patients. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce wants the state to consolidate mental health operations at Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica — instead of downsizing the local facility.

The state Office of Mental Health announced in February it was closing two adult wards at the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center and moving a third one to Hutchings Psychiatric Center in Syracuse.

With these actions, there would be no more adult inpatients at the Utica facility. About 140 jobs at the Noyes Street facility would be lost.

The chamber contends moving mental health operations to Utica would be more cost effective. It says the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center facilities would not require an upgrade. However, it is reported that the Syracuse location would need a $19 million upgrade to bring the facility up to standards.

The Mental Health Office is seeking to reduce empty inpatient psychiatric beds across New York.