New Facility to Relieve Overcrowding at Montana State Hospital
Governor Steve Bullock announced a new treatment facility for Montanans committed to Montana State Hospital (MSH) due to alleged or adjudicated criminal actions.The new facility in Galen, Montana will reduce pressures on MSH – the hospital is licensed for 216 beds, but the current occupancy is 253 - and provide a greater level of treatment and security to conduct client evaluation and treatment, improve client and staff safety and reduce the risk of client flight.
The facility will become a Secured Forensic Mental Health Facility and will provide 24/7 secured psychiatric treatment and evaluation to adults who are court committed to the custody of the director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services. Individuals who will be served include:
· Individuals committed as Guilty But Mentally Ill (GBMI);
· Individuals committed as Not Guilty but Mentally Ill (NGMI);
· Individuals committed for Court Ordered Evaluations (COE);
· Individuals committed for the purpose of gaining fitness for trial, considered Unfit To Proceed (UTP); and
· Individuals in the custody of the Department of Corrections who are transferred for placement pursuant to Montana law.
“As we make historic investments in community mental health services, we must also remember we have a moral and legal obligation to serve Montanans with the most significant mental health needs,” said Governor Bullock. “This facility will provide much needed relief to our acute care mental health facilities’ patients and employees, but cannot be our only effort to reduce the overcrowding at Montana State Hospital. We must do all we can to ensure Montanans are only committed there as a last resort.”
While the 2015 Legislature approved funding to hire additional staff and operational resources to relieve over population issues at MSH, the failure of the statewide infrastructure bill (SB416 by Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey), means the facility to provide the needed relief along with other critical infrastructure investments did not come to fruition.
The new facility is expected to be operational February 1, 2016.