MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Officials at Vermont's largest private psychiatric hospital said Monday they are dedicated to providing quality mental health care to patients amid the possibility of the facility shuttering or being forced into a sale.
Brattleboro Retreat Board Chair Elizabeth Catlin said the organization is ready to work “with all willing partners” to help it achieve financial stability. The board began considering its options last week when the state of Vermont rejected a $2 million request for additional funding.
"In recent years, the Brattleboro Retreat's board and its management team have taken a number of creative, cost-conscious steps to reshape and modernize hospital operations while meeting the rising tide of soaring labor costs," said Catlin's statement. "The Brattleboro Retreat's quality of care, even with these financial pressures, continues to be excellent."
The facility serves more than half the people in Vermont who need psychiatric care and provides all of the child and adolescent psychiatric care in the state. It also provides addiction services including inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and treatment services for those who get Suboxone, a prescription medication used to treat opioid addictions.
If it closes, the letter said that would mean finding services for 2,500 inpatients annually as well as filling new gaps for Suboxone treatment services, residential programs for children and meeting other critical health needs.
On Sunday, Vermont Human Services Secretary Michael Smith said he had rejected a request for an additional $2 million in funding from the retreat. That request would be added to a financial package valued at an estimated $16 million for new beds and a recent rate increase valued at an estimated $3.5 million per year.
Smith said he rejected the request in part because he believes it would constitute a taxpayer bailout of financial miscalculations by Brattleboro Retreat's management.
But Josephson said the state wasn't paying it enough to care for the patients the state wants cared for.
On Friday, Josephson sent a letter Friday to Smith and Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, that said the facility cannot continue operating without more support from the state. He said the board had authorized him to begin planning for the sale or closure of the retreat “in the very near future."