MONTPELIER – Steve Kimbell, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (DFR), today issued a Certificate of Need (CON) to the Vermont Department of Mental Health approving plans for construction of a new psychiatric hospital in Berlin. The 25-bed, state owned and operated, in-patient facility will replace in part the 54-bed hospital in Waterbury that was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.
The Fisher Road location was chosen due to its proximity to Central Vermont Medical Center. Act 79, passed in 2012, requires that any new mental health hospital built in Vermont must be close to a general medical facility.
In July, the Vermont Department of Mental Health requested a Certificate of Need be issued under the emergency provision specified by statute. The application was submitted to DFR on Nov. 2, a public hearing was held Friday, Nov. 16, and the commissioner signed the decision today.
Kimbell said there is no doubt about the need for this facility or that it serves the public good.
After Irene, Vermont officials took immediate action to relocate patients displaced by the destruction of the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury. Since then, mental health patients have been housed in other hospitals and health care facilities around the state.
“This has put tremendous pressure on the state’s ability to care for Vermonters with serious mental illness,” he said, “Our mental health care providers are to be commended for their hard work and dedicated service during this difficult time.”
Kimbell also praised the efforts of all Vermonters and state employees for their perseverance and determination during the rebuilding process.
“This hospital is just another step in the state’s recovery from the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene,” he said.