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Bill to keep Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca is delivered to governor

The bill to keep the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca has been sent to the governor.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has not taken any action on the bill, his spokesman said Tuesday.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan, R-Elma, and Assemblyman Michael Kearns, D-Buffalo, would prevent the state from moving ahead with plans to move the facility to the grounds of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. It was passed unanimously in both houses of the State Legislature.

Once it landed on his desk, the governor has 10 days to decide if he will sign the bill into law.

“Closing the children’s psychiatric center in West Seneca and merging it with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center is simply not in the best interest of the children and adolescent patients who are treated there,” Gallivan said. “The West Seneca facility is rated among the best in the nation, and patients, families and caregivers attribute much of the center’s success to its unique and stand-alone location. I implore Gov. Cuomo to do what is best for the children who need these vital services and sign this legislation.”

"Closing this facility would be a colossal mistake. This has been a long, hard fight to keep the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center open where it is and I am hopeful Gov. Cuomo will sign this bill and save the children,” Kearns said.

The two legislators have collected more than 16,000 signatures from residents in support of keeping the center in West Seneca. The petitions were delivered to the governor's office with the bill.

The Coalition to Save the Children’s Psychiatric Center, a group of patients, former patients, family members, community activists and health care providers, has filed a legal challenge to the governor and state mental health commissioner to keep the center from moving.

Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan has said none of the children currently being served at the West Seneca facility will be moved to Buffalo. She said renovations to the Buffalo facility are scheduled to be completed in 2019.

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