Most Dix patients to move by Oct. 8

The replacement hospital is under scrutiny for safety and legal concerns

Source: The N&O

Dorothea Dix Hospital is set to close early next month after 152 years of providing for North Carolina’s mentally ill. The bulk of its patients will move to a new facility in Butner dogged by safety concerns and technical glitches.

The state Department of Health and Human Services said that 170 patients will be transferred to Central Regional Hospital by Oct. 8.

The head of Disability Rights North Carolina, an advocacy group with a federal mandate to investigate patient abuse and neglect in state hospitals, said she may seek a restraining order from a judge next week to stop the move.

“We continue to be alarmed by the reports we’ve received, as well as our own monitoring and investigations, as to the readiness of Central Regional Hospital to accept the Dix patients,” said Vicki Smith, the president of Disability Rights.

Sixty patient beds will remain at the sprawling Dix campus until 2011, as part of a mental health crisis unit jointly paid for by the state and Wake County. The campus will also house a small number of minimum-security patients found not guilty of criminal acts by reason of insanity who have jobs in Raleigh.

The unit at Dix that houses children and adolescent patients will remain until December, when renovations to a building in Butner are complete. More