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County Executive Press Releases

Posted on: December 21, 2023

Steve McLaughlin Concerned by St. Peter's Decision

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin Concerned by St. Peter's Decision to Not Accept New Behavioral Health Cases Just Before Holidays

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said he is highly concerned that St. Peter’s Health Partners is not accepting new referrals for behavioral health services, creating obstacles for those seeking help during a often difficult time of year.

The announcement was made public this afternoon by St. Peter’s Health Partners.

McLaughlin said he is equally concerned the state Office of Mental Health has not provided resources or staff to assist with mental health services on the local level.

The St. Peter’s decision may be prompted by staff shortages but McLaughlin said the decision to suspend referrals should at least be postponed until after the holidays. He called on state leaders to step forward with help on the issue.

“This suspension is coming with little or no advance notice to the public during the holidays, which are often a time when people need help or support,” said McLaughlin.

“The holidays are not a time when there should be new obstacles or reduced options during a time of high demand. Some need help navigating the holiday season, the onset of winter and a host of other challenges, and that help needs to be maintained,” he added.

“St. Peter’s should rethink their decision and find the way to maintain this very necessary service and support at least during the holidays,” added McLaughlin.

The move by St. Peter’s to suspend new referrals comes as St. Peter’s is readying the closure of the Burdett Birth Center at Samaritan Hospital in Troy. Burdett Birth Center is the only birthing center in the entire county.

“Our concerns are growing that St. Peter’s is reducing on-demand medical services at Samaritan, and the sudden announcement today only deepens that worry,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin called on state leaders to come forward with resources to address service and staffing shortfalls in behavioral health services.

“The staff shortage at St. Peter’s is creating additional pressures and stress on the county levels, also making it a challenge to retain or attract staff in the county. The state is unfortunately silent or unable or unwilling to come forward with the help needed to retain a compassionate level or behavioral services for our residents,” said McLaughlin.

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