Senate To Take Up Mental Health Bill

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The Vermont Senate is set this week for a final vote on a sweeping overhaul of the state’s mental health system, in the wake of the closing of the Vermont State Hospital due to flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.

The Senate on Thursday gave preliminary approval to a plan to replace the 54-bed hospital with smaller facilities around the state, including a new, 16-bed hospital in Berlin. It was expected to win final passage on Friday, but was put off after the Shumlin administration announced the impending layoffs of 80 state employees who had worked at the hospital.

The number of beds at the new facility is expected to trigger a fight with the House, which earlier passed a plan for 25 beds in Berlin.

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