Budget woes force closure of long-term care psychiatric hospital with 14 remaining patients. Where will they go?

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A state-owned psychiatric hospital will close its long-term unit this summer, forcing state health officials to find new beds for 14 geriatric or brain-injured residents with long-term needs.

Eastern State Hospital in Lexington, managed by University of Kentucky HealthCare, will remain open otherwise. Two other state-run facilities will be able to provide long-term mental health care for the elderly patients, the Lexington Herald Leader reported, though the patients may be further from family members.

Doug Hogan, communications director for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, told the newspaper the state's 2018-2020 healthcare budget created 118 new "waiver slots" for people with acquired brain injuries to receive an “alternative to institutional care.”

Closing the facility is expected to save $2 million. The long-term facility has the smallest population of any unit in Eastern State Hospital and has, based on size, the highest per resident cost, Hogan said.