BOSTON, MA - APRIL 2: Christine McCarthy, a nurse for over 20 years and a palliative nurse for the past year, sits for a portrait on an empty hospital bed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Apr. 2, 2020. Here at the states largest hospital, staff are coping with unprecedented realities in this coronavirus pandemic and deeply worried about what is yet to come. There is an odd juxtaposition inside this normally bustling world-renowned hospital: Expanded intensive care units are packed with COVID-19 patients, while other floors and places such as family waiting rooms are deserted, quiet. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Mental Health Professionals Pressure Hospital System to Bring Back Care

in Health

Sitting on a ledge in front of Kingston City Hall, Peace Lovejoy said that when she went recently to WMC HealthAlliance Hospital, and said she was suicidal and needed help, she hit a wall.

“They gave me a Tylenol for my headache and then told me there weren’t any beds for me,” Lovejoy said.

Lovejoy headlined the “Speak Out” Rally in Midtown, pushing back against WMC HealthAlliance for essentially erasing much of its Kingston-based mental health and detox programs.

About 40 local officials and medical professionals attended.

In April, 40 beds dedicated to mental health treatment and 20 detox beds were removed from the HealthAlliance campus on Mary’s Avenue to prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases.

Those resources were never brought back.

Local officials said now that the change appears to be permanent, a promise by HealthAlliance to restore the resources was clearly broken.

Lovejoy was joined by several Kingston-area leaders and health professionals who are furious with the healthcare provider.

“So they replaced 60 beds with 15,” mental health technician Gabriel Baez said to the group of about 40 in slickers under umbrellas. “They put them in Mid-Hudson [Regional Hospital]. That’s Dutchess County. Dutchess County, however, also can send patients there. So those 15 beds aren’t guaranteed for our people. Can our people get some damn help?”

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