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Debating The Future Of The State Hospital

12/21/11 12:00PM By Jane Lindholm
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AP/Toby Talbot
The Vermont State Hospital was badly damaged by Irene. Last week, Governor Peter Shumlin unveiled his proposed plan for replacing it.

The debate over replacing the Vermont State Hospital has been going on for nearly a decade, but it's taken on new urgency in the past few months, since the Waterbury facility was badly flooded during Tropical Storm Irene. Last week, Governor Peter Shumlin announced his proposed plan for replacing the 54-bed psychiatric hospital with a new, significantly smaller facility in central Vermont, and additional beds at the Brattleboro Retreat, Rutland Regional Medical Center, and the Windsor Correctional Facility. The plan also calls for a number of other community-based mental health services. But the proposal is garnering a fair amount of criticism, including from Dr. Jay Batra, the medical director of the State Hospital.  We talk to Batra and to Patrick Flood, who is transitioning from his role as Deputy Human Services Secretary to Mental Health Commissioner, about the future of the state hospital.

Also on the program, bagpiper Hazen Metro grew up in Williston and then went off to Scotland to study the pipes at the Royal Conservatory of Scotland in Glasgow. While back home visiting for the holidays and to play some concerts in the area, he stopped by VPR to relate tales of learning the pipes and playing in intrepid Celtic bands.

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