Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 4:43:00 AM

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Next Steps For Mental Health Clinic

Dozens of protesters gathered on the corner of State and Lewis streets in Binghamton to express the need for the county's mental health clinic to remain open.

The protest comes as a response to the 2014 budget that calls for the closure of the clinic by mental health commissioner Art Johnson. Protesters are worried that patients at the clinic will fall through the cracks, but Johnson ensures all patients will be relocated to one of four other clinics in the county.

"These are issues that are hidden from the general public, but the course will escalate so dramatically if you close this center down," said Harold Koster, whose son was a mental patient at the facility.

"There is no deadline," said Art Johnson, Broome County Mental Health Commissioner. "We are going to stay open as long as it takes to remove the patients from our clinic to one of the other providers. We will carefully case-manage the clients from the Broome County Mental Health Clinic to another provider."

County democrats have written a resolution which would freeze the closure of the clinic. It also calls for a public hearing on the topic no later than September 2014.

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