By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Department of Mental Health says it will release a 10-year plan for psychiatric care by the end of January.

The new model for state psychiatric care could mean that the state could rely less on the Brattleboro Retreat, Vermont Public Radio reported.

Mental Health Commissioner Sarah Squirrell said a standalone facility like Retreat is not the optimal choice for the future of psychiatric care in Vermont.

“This is really, I think, an opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion about the socially and fiscally optimal size of the Retreat, which may help establish a viable transition path toward sustainability,” Squirrell said.

Retreat CEO Louis Josephson said he wants to be included in the conversations on the state’s long-term plans, even if the plan is to reduce services at his facility.

“If we can do more in the community for people, for less money, and keep them in the community, we should absolutely do that,” Josephson said. “Even if it means we shrink or disappear. That’s the way to go, 100%.”

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