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AFSCME: Closure of Mt. Pleasant Center is Heartless
Date:2/18/2009

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Albert Garrett, President of Michigan Council 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, issued the following statement:

"I am reading from a report prepared by the Michigan Department of Community Health: 'The Mt. Pleasant Center is the last remaining state-operated facility for persons with developmental disabilities. It is also the last Medicaid Certified "Intermediate Care Facility for Persons with Mental Retardation" (ICF-MR) in this state,'" began Garrett. "The State's current budget plan calls for the closure of the Mt. Pleasant Center on October 10, 2009.

"A closure coordinator is on site in Mt. Pleasant now. These Michigan citizens with developmental disabilities will be 'placed in the community,' as the current jargon expresses it," continued Garrett. "We have already seen, repeatedly, the impact of this 'community placement' strategy: these citizens are placed in privately operated facilities which are often ill-equipped to meet their needs, and which exist for the purpose of making a profit on the care of these people. Many of these citizens in need will become entangled in our correctional systems, because they are not equipped to function in the community.

"We long ago passed the point of diminishing returns in 'community placement.' For some time we have been engaged in dumping these residents with little regard for the quality of care they will receive. With the closure of the Mt. Pleasant Center, our state will abandon these hapless citizens completely," concluded Garrett. "These 160 individuals will lose the care they need, and the Mt. Pleasant area will lose 400 good jobs. These are difficult times, but this is a singularly heartless approach to the State's budgetary problems."

Albert Garrett also serves as Vice President of AFSCME International. Michigan AFSCM
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SOURCE Michigan AFSCME Council 25
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