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Governor to Sign Bipartisan Bond Package and Bill to Address Problems at Riverview Psychiatric Center
August 29, 2013
For Immediate Release: Thursday, Aug. 29 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, (207) 287-2531
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage will sign a package of bond bills totaling $149.5 million for infrastructure projects, college and university improvements and rehabilitation of Maine’s National Guard armories, as well as a bill to address safety concerns at the State’s psychiatric hospital.
“I am pleased that we can send these bonds to voters in November," said the Governor. "Infrastructure projects create good-paying jobs in the construction industry, and our roads, bridges and ports are important economic drivers that help attract and retain jobs. We are improving our transportation network, and we are putting Mainers back to work.”
The bond package, which was negotiated with Legislative leadership, includes the Governor’s original proposal of $100 million for highways, bridges and multimodal facilities, such as ports. The package includes $14 million to maintain and upgrade Maine’s armories, many of which are in dire need of repair and upgrades.
In addition, the package includes $15.5 million for community colleges; $15.5 million for Maine’s university system; and $4.5 million for the Maine Maritime Academy.
Legislators approved a separate measure to address problems involving Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
“I am also pleased that the Legislature has acted to remedy a serious problem at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, which is a dangerous situation that needed to be addressed quickly,” said the Governor. “Our first concern is for the safety of the patients and our staff. There is still work to do, but this is the first step in that process.”
This spring, Governor LePage sounded the alarm to address the need for additional safety measures and the capacity to handle the increase in forensic patients. As a result, the Governor proposed LD 1515, “An Act To Increase the Availability of Mental Health Services”, to establish an inpatient-level treatment facility within a correctional institution. That bill was supported and passed today.
In the meantime, the Administration learned that certification of Riverview was in jeopardy for its Medicare deficiencies, which requires compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS certifies the hospital. The Administration submitted a plan of correction this summer.
Today, the Administration received a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services accepting the state’s plan of correction for Riverview.