Local News

DHHS to move most operations from Dix Hospital

Posted August 24, 2010

— The state Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that it would move most operations from Dorothea Dix Hospital to other facilities by the end of the year to save money.

State lawmakers didn't include any money for Dix operations in the 2010-11 budget, DHHS Secretary Lanier Cansler said, so the department had to find ways to cut $28 million in operating costs.

Shifting services from Dix to Central Regional Hospital in Butner and Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro would save about $15 million while maintaining needed capacity for inpatient mental health treatment, Cansler said.

Sixty adult inpatient beds, 11 long-term beds, 54 forensic beds, 12 clinical research beds and pre-trial evaluation outpatient and inpatient services will be moved to Central Regional. Thirty long-term beds will be moved to Cherry Hospital.

After the shifts, 24 forensic beds and a child outpatient clinic will still be at Dix. The hospital, which has treated people with mental illness since 1856, had 183 patients as of Tuesday.

"This is purely something that was meant to happen when they built the new hospital (in Butner). It hasn't because we wanted to make sure we had the right patient care," Cansler said. "We're at a time now where we have to make the tough decisions and scale the hospital back."

Dorothea Dix Hospital Most patient services transferred from Dix Hospital

More than 800 full-time and temporary workers are employed at Dix. Most of those who handle the services being moved to Central Regional will be reassigned to the Butner facility, Cansler said. DHHS will help employees who don't want to move or whose jobs will be eliminated because they are redundant at Central Regional to find other positions within the department, he said.

The state has debated for several years whether to close Dix altogether – Raleigh officials have offered to buy 306 acres of the site for a Central Park-type attraction – but it remains unclear how long the facility will remain open.

More than 1,300 DHHS employees will continue to work on the Dix campus after the moves.

DHHS spokeswoman Renee McCoy said department officials are still looking for places to cut the remaining $13 million in unfunded Dix operating costs.


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  • pamslaff Aug 27, 2010

    The person with the quietest voice and no $ will always get the short end of the stick. No politician will benefit from keeping Dix. Contractors will line a few pockets. Great, turn Dix into "Central Park". Not wise. It will become a haven for junkies and prostitutes. Can't wait to take my kids here to play in THAT park!! Smooooth move lawmakers. May you never have to deal with a mentally challenged/diseased person close to you. Dix does wonderful work with the most challenging patients in our state. Dix also hasnt had the bad problems the other hospital have had w/ threats of losing certified beds. HMMM!! WHO IS BENEFITTING THIS? WHY HASN"T THE PUBLIC HAVE A VOTE ON THIS? I havent heard one person in favor of it moving. Good luck to politicians (DEMS and REPUBS) who favored the closure. I dont think there will be much of a future for you in politics. I hope plan B works out better for you all. I vote out!!

  • skeeter II Aug 25, 2010

    All of the Dix campus is NOT available for other use! The DHHS central office, DHHS Controller's Office, Aging, child care center, and other operations are located on the Dix campus.

    Also, Gov Hunt earmarked all of the land from the railroad, near Central Prison, to the new NCSU campus for NCSU when he was Governor. The new NCSU campus and the Farmer's Market were originally part of the Dix Campus.


  • cad Aug 25, 2010

    My son was accessed, it was determined he needed inpatient treatment. He sat in a chair June 7 from 6:30 pm to June 8 at 11:00 pm at the Wake County Crisis Center waiting for a bed. He was transported to an area hospital, accessed, gave medication, slept June 9 until June 10, and was released June 11. The sickest of the sick get the beds. He was released with an outpatient accessment appointment June 29. He had a conflict in schedule so it was rescheduled for August 16. To date we have not heard when he will start to receive treatment.

    We close a hospital when it takes 30 hours to receive a bed? We release the mentally ill when they are not ready to be release because of the bed shortage? We cut funding to out-patient treatment when it takes months to get the treatment?
    If this was your child how would you feel? Until you are in our shoes you will not understand! Physical illnesses do not get this kind of treatment.

    Wake up...something is terribly wrong with this system!

  • edgar709 Aug 25, 2010

    Once again, politics @ play. Where do politicians take money away from when needed? Exactly from folks whose voices are not heard from. Unfortunetly, we are a reactive society as oppose to preventive. This move will have an effect on Wake county residents whom may be in need of mental health services. When something bad happens (and you know that this is a population considered @ risk) then all of this politicians will be in the news stating "what went wrong? or We will investigate and make the necessary changes to prevent such tragedies from happening again" and long and behold, we will have once again a psychiatric hospital in Raleigh and new dollars will be found miraculously from within the state budget.

  • foxhunter Aug 25, 2010

    bill0 - easy for you to say. there are not enough beds or staff I agree. And the buildings are old. There is not just 1 building by the way...there are 17. And, yes they do let patients out of the building. Dix is not a prison! Patients have rights just like everyone else. As far as maintaining the largest park in Raleigh....this statement is ludicrous, especially by someone who doesn't have a clue what they are talking about. I think I'd rather pay for a "park" for patients who deserve it rather than pay for a "park" for homeless people, most of whom don't care and don't want to work. Oh, and yes, Dix patients, who are of age and able have jobs, so don't go there! Next time, how about reading the History of Dix and all the N&O articles before you start making erronious comments. I'm sure the patients and staff would greatly appreciate that.

  • foxhunter Aug 25, 2010

    so, let me get this straight....the patients have to go but DHHS OFFICE space can stay, and the NC State building whose name you can't even read because it's in Chinese and the Soccer Field, which has nothing to do with DHHS, can stay. What about this doesn't make sense? Oh, and even more strange...isn't Pullen Park across the street and they constantly complain about homeless people mugging civilians. Gee...what we have to look forward too. :/

  • dean3 Aug 25, 2010

    someone please tell me the #'s are wrong and they do not have 800 staff taking care of 183 people....
    no wonder NC has no money... between this and the new story out about DHHS and the prison system.. they have no clue whats going on around them...

  • Weaker Pelosi Aug 25, 2010

    Yes, turn it into a park so we can have more muggings and sexual assalts in the area. Has anyone seen the bad neighborhood in the southern end of the Dix campus?

  • bekindinnc Aug 24, 2010

    Anyone who has read the history of Dix would never be able to close its doors.
    And someone better be DARN sure its cemetery is protected from anything done with the land.

    I also bet that 10 years from now, someone will say "Gee, we could really use a mental health facility in Raleigh..." Idiots.

  • Adelinthe Aug 24, 2010

    lkwld - "I wish everyone would do some research on how hard Dorothea Dix worked to assure there would be a place for the mentally ill here in Raleigh."


    Her work should be honored and cherished, not changed and bulldozed.

    God bless.