HRH Mental Care Unit closing

HANNIBAL, MO. -- Part of Hannibal Regional Hospital's Mental Care Unit will close this month.

John Grossmeier, the President of Hannibal Regional Hospital told KHQA, "Last week we announced that July 15, the Woodland Center for Mental Health with HRH would close."

Hannibal Regional Hospital is the last northeast Missouri agency to end its inpatient mental health services.

"The reimbursement from the state to hospital's mental health facilities doesn't begin to cover the cost of care," said Grossmeier.

The 14-bed unit at Hannibal Regional Hospital saw almost four hundred patients a year. Each patient stayed for about a week ... but now, have nowhere to go.

"As a result, a number of Missouri hospitals have chosen to shut down, including Boone and Mexico, Missouri."

Without the center, the hospital cannot take patients who pose a danger to themselves or others.

"But others that are not dangerous will continue to be treated at the hospital like any other person."

Hannibal police officers deals with many of these patients on a weekly basis. Officers they will continue to provide assistance for the mentally ill and say there's not much concern at this point for the community's safety.

"I believe they will be fully evaluated by the hospital before anybody is released back to the public," said Lt. Davis.

The hospital believes about 50 percent of its patients will continue to receive care. The others may have to be transported to other mental health care facilities around the state.

The state budget belt tightening is just one reason the center will close. The hospital has also had a tough time finding psychiatrists.

"They've been hard to find and to recruit to communities like Hannibal," Grossmeier stated.

"We are in a wait and see situation. I have been in contact with the hospital and we're going to keep things the way they are. Hopefully they can be treated there and streamline their care and the ones that don't need to be admitted won't be," said Lt. Davis.

At this time, the hospital is working to reappoint employees from the center to other departments.

Hannibal Regional Hospital's president says there's always potential for the mental health care unit to reopen, but he doesn't see that happening any time soon.