Local News

Gov. Perdue visits Umstead mental facility

Posted February 25, 2009 6:30 p.m. EST
Updated February 26, 2009 10:00 a.m. EST

— Gov. Bev Perdue made an unannounced visit to the children's and adolescent unit at Central Regional Hospital's John Umstead facility in Butner late Tuesday afternoon.

She was there for about an hour and 15 minutes and spoke with hospital administrators, the medical and nursing staff and many of the children.

Her visit came after patient advocates expressed concern over the conditions of the facility, which once served as an army hospital for U.S. military personnel returning from World War II.

Two years ago, state health officials identified mold and mildew in a part of the children's gymnasium that wasn't being used.

Disability Rights North Carolia is concerned the mold could spread and says it is a serious environmental concern.

The state has recently spent approximately $200,000 renovating the facility with fresh paint, brighter lights, new security cameras and an upgraded air-conditioning system.

Perdue said she will work with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler to ensure that all of the patients in mental health facilities are getting proper care in suitable and safe conditions.