Local News

Most Dix patients could be moved by Dec. 23

Posted October 13, 2010

— Most of the patients at Dorothea Dix Hospital will be moved to other facilities by Dec. 23, and the hospital could close its doors as early as next fall, according to a timeline from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Last month, the department announced it would move most operations at the hospital in an effort to help cut $28 million in operating costs not allocated in the 2010-11 state budget.

About 30 forensic beds and a child outpatient clinic will remain at Dix until next fall.

To formally close the hospital, Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler will have to submit a proposal to the General Assembly. If no bill is introduced in the next legislative session to keep it open, the hospital could close as early as September after 155 years of treating mental health patients.

Cansler previously outlined that 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.

About 60 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.

"We currently have no specific plans to relocate the remaining 30 forensic beds," Cansler said in a statement Wednesday. "Should Dix Hospital be officially closed next year, the 30 forensic beds will operate operate under the CRH umbrella on the Dix campus until a longer term plan is developed."

More than 800 full-time and temporary workers are employed at Dix. Most of those who handle the services being moved to Central Regional have been reassigned to the Butner facility.

“The fact that we received no budget for Dix this year is a very clear indication, given our current financial climate, that we really needed to move forward with cost reduction measures," Health and Human Services Deputy Director Mike Watson said Wednesday.

Mental health advocates are concerned about the effect closing Dix will have on those in need of treatment.

About two dozen people on Wednesday afternoon participated in a rally, organized by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Wake County, outside the General Assembly Wednesday afternoon.

The alliance released a report this week, showing that since 2001, the number of prison and jail inmates with mental illnesses has risen while the number of patient beds in state mental hospitals has declined.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Renee McCoy said more than 1,300 DHHS employees will continue to work on the Dorothea Dix campus after the moves.


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  • Nursey Oct 14, 2010

    It's not about the budget at all. Dix has been running on FAR fewer funds and resources than CRH in Butner--with the same number of patients. The funding for the new hospital in Goldsboro is likely coming from the DHHS budget. You'd think if they can budget to build a BRAND new hospital, then they could certainly budget to keep Dix open.

    They want the land or the buildings for selfish reasons. Hundreds of employees, patients, and patient families are having to pay the price. It's not right, and it's not fair.

    I've heard that CRH spends more than twice the amount on patient food that Dix has--again, for the same number of patients. What are they feeding them?!

    I've been to both facilities. CRH has more resources, more staff, better EVERYthing--large, brand named items compared to Dix's small generics. If Dix can survive on fewer funds, why can't CRH? And if CRH had fewer funds, Dix could stay alive. But if they say that it requires x amount of dollars for CRH to maintain, even thou

  • bekindinnc Oct 13, 2010

    skyygene, it already is something Raleigh can be proud of. Not every piece of land has to be developed into something bright & shiny.

    And I hope you never have to care for a mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or elderly person.

  • bekindinnc Oct 13, 2010

    Bev recently said that a new building would replace Cherry Hospital. I do not understand why the current facilities can't be improved, and why Dix is currently set to be closed. Although 1300 employees will remain (????).

    The Dix campus is beautiful & has done so much for the state - why on earth would you turn it into something else? Real estate development - no. There's already too much sitting vacant, & people tend to want a better view than the yard at Central Prison. I think we can live without another park.

    Bev, how about actually taking a stand & leaving this much-needed hospital in place so it can continue to help the community & the state. Oh, btw, there's also a cemetery on the land in a prime location w/900 people in it. Disturbing those graves will not be an option, & you sure aren't going to 'ignore' them & build or anything else.

    RB, I completely agree with EVERYTHING you said.

  • tsterling10 Oct 13, 2010

    "The fact that we received no budget for Dix this year..."

    Dix didn't receive any funds last year either.

    Representatives Deborah Ross and Jennifer Weiss tell us they want to keep Dix open, yet they refuse to fund it. Actions speak louder than words. End the lies and vote these two out in November!

  • skyygene Oct 13, 2010

    This is looong overdue. Now please sell the land to a developer with a vision, who will transform that area into something Raleigh can be proud of.

  • Peace Love and Cold Meds Oct 13, 2010

    perfect, just in time for more record 90 degree temps. that will make the move easier.

  • Adelinthe Oct 13, 2010

    I am disgusted by this.

    If Dix were located on property outside of town instead of prime real estate right near the business section, it and its patients would have been left alone.

    To take people like this and move them to a facility so far from their loved ones is inhumane.

    Every single county in this state should have an accredited modern facility to care for them so that their loved ones don't have to travel far to visit them.

    Sometimes it's that regular contact with loved ones that helps comfort and even heal people.

    The way this state treats children, the disabled and the elderly is abhorrent.

    God bless.


  • nic Oct 13, 2010

    So shady. Cansler is moving all the beds but 30 (only due to a court order) so he can say he's keeping Dix open. So he is circumventing what it says in the budget about not closing a hospital until he gets legislative approval by moving as many beds as he can. Plus he says the legislature gave no money to Dix, but the legislature says they were never asked for money for Dix. Stand up for the mentally ill in Wake county!