AUGUSTA– Controversy over Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta is still stirring as lawmakers gathered Thursday to discuss options on the location of a new facility.
Talk of creating a new psychiatric facility in Bangor is continuing to circulate.
“Until last week everyone said Augusta is the right place for this” said Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon.
A meeting between Republicans and Democrats on Thursday hoped to smooth out concerns, specifically on the privatization of the psychiatric center. Many legislators saying they don’t want to build the facility in Augusta without ample information that Democrats and some Republicans say they aren’t receiving from administration. The facility would reduce the number of people in hospitals and jails that are incompetent to stand trail because of mental illness, or no longer need hospital treatment.
“It’s a difficult population” said Senate President, Michael Thibodeau. “They’ll be good information that will be helpful both today, as we try to figure out whats going on over there, but also in the future as we try to craft a budget”.
Earlier this week, Governor LePage withdrew his request to build in Augusta, and says he’s now looking to move the facility to Bangor where there is no need for legislative approval.
Gideon says “We haven’t seen any compelling reasons why Bangor is a better place. In fact, it seems like it could be a tremendous waste of tax payer dollars”.
But legislators can agree on one thing, regardless of location, and cost, this new “step down unit”, will help Maine regain federal certifications and funding.