Monday’s editorial, “Administration stalls progress on Riverview fix,” is an example of the press playing politics unnecessarily.

The LePage administration has taken steps to move forward with an action plan to address one of the few remaining concerns at the Riverview Psychiatric Center. Certain individuals in Riverview today do not need hospital-level care and the Department of Health and Human Services has made plans to construct a stand-alone secure unit where those individuals can continue their rehabilitation.

This move is meant to deliver two important outcomes. One, it is a required step towards recertification of Riverview by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and two, it puts these mentally ill individuals in the setting that is most clinically appropriate.

DHHS has answered many questions regarding this process and has an open dialogue with the city of Augusta regarding the construction of the facility. The application process dates back to July. We have told anyone who has asked:

• This is a secure forensic rehabilitation facility, a group home, for those individuals that have committed a crime but are deemed not guilty because of mental illness and have been placed in the custody of the commissioner.

• It will be overseen by DHHS and staffed by an expert provider that will be selected through the state’s required procurement process.

• It will be funded using funds the legislature has already appropriated to be used for the mentally ill.

• It will be located next to Riverview and will be staffed 24/7 with constant monitoring.

There is no reason for the press or lawmakers to make this political. DHHS will continue to move through the appropriate and necessary reviews by the city of Augusta and other entities and proceed with implementing this solution to serve Mainers.

Sam Adolphsen is chief operating officer of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.


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