Money matters key in decision on State Hospital

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The future of the antiquated Vermont State Hospital is among the decisions facing lawmakers this year as they address a capital projects bill that will have ramifications for the handling of the mentally ill.

The state has to decide whether to spend $500,000 planning for a new 15-bed residential unit in Waterbury, and up to $500,000 toward planning for an expansion at Rutland Regional Medical Center.

Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman urged lawmakers last week to approve those projects.

Since 2003, the state and the Douglas administration have agreed that the Vermont State Hospital should be replaced, but no comprehensive plan has been approved for doing so.

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