Riverview Psychiatric Center

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Riverview Psychiatric Center has reached a major milestone toward being re-certified by the federal government.

A judge has ruled that a lawsuit alleging patient neglect and worker mistreatment at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta can go forward this spring.

Jennifer Taghavidinani of Oakland, filed suit in 2016 saying she'd experienced harrassment while employed by the center and that patients were not receiving adequate care.

The Kennebec Journal reports that the suit also asserts that Taghavidinani was punished for complaining about work conditions and the treatment of patients.

A federal judge recently ruled that the lawsuit can go to trial in May. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Bangor residents turned out in force Tuesday evening to let their city councilors know that they strongly oppose a plan by Gov. Paul LePage to build a 21-bed “step-down” forensic psychiatric facility on Hogan Road.

Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci said safety concerns, residents'  fears over potentially reduced property values and the administration's refusal to provide details about the plan are all the reasons he needs to seek a moratorium against the construction of any new forensic facility in the city. 

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is moving forward with plans to build a privatized psychiatric residence without legislative oversight by selecting a builder.

The administration told The Associated Press on Thursday that construction company Cianbro won a contract to build the Bangor facility to house mental health patients accused of crimes, freeing up beds for others.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

The court master who oversees the rights of mental health patients at Riverview Psychiatric Center says there have been improvements, but there's still some way to go before the Augusta psychiatric hospital is ready to operate without the intense scrutiny of a consent decree.

Dan Wathen has served as court master for Riverview, since 1990, when he was appointed as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit by former psychiatric patients.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Federal officials have informed the LePage administration that the state is improperly using federal funds at the Riverview Psychiatric Center. That puts the state on the hook for more than $51 million.

The letter from regional director of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Richard McGreal says the state owes over $51 million to the federal government for funds that were improperly used to help pay for the operations of the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration is now seeking developers for a new secure psychiatric home in Bangor.

Months ago, LePage said his administration would move forward with building the residence without legislative approval.

The administration is looking for a firm to build an 8,300-square-foot facility by March 2019.

The secure residence would house people who've been through the judicial system but courts have ruled aren't responsible for crimes because of mental illness.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Gov. Paul LePage predicts that the Trump administration will re-certify the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, a move that would protect $20 million in federal funding. The governor also reiterated his unsubstantiated claim that the Obama administration’s decertification of the hospital nearly four years ago was politically motivated.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills
File photo (Maine Public/AJ Higgins)

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills and Governor Paul LePage are at odds again. This time it is over the Governor’s plan to build a new secure mental health facility, and whether LePage needs permission from the Legislature.

AUGUSTA, Maine - During his weekly radio appearance on WVOM, Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he is moving forward with establishing a new facility for state forensic patients.

That appears to refute Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon’s assertion that the two had reached agreement for moving forward with placing the facility adjacent to the Riverview Psychiatric hospital in Augusta.

“They want to reopen it, let them do what they got to do," LePage said. "I am moving forward. We need a step-down unit.”

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette told reporters he will push for approval of a new 21-bed psychiatric facility next door to the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

The matter is not on today's Legislative Council meeting agenda, but Fredette says he will bring up a motion for the council to approve its construction.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage says he's looking for alternative sites for a new $3 million psychiatric unit after a committee of lawmakers stalled his proposal to build the facility on Capitol grounds in Augusta last week.

The governor told Bangor radio station WVOM that the move to halt the $3.5 million facility was also a "shot across the bow" by presumptive Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon.

The LePage administration’s plan to build a new facility for mentally ill patients next to the Riverview Psychiatric Center has hit another roadblock.

The proposed 21-bed secure rehabilitation center has been approved by Augusta city officials and the Capitol Planning Commission. But LePage administration officials told legislative leaders they have found a provision of state law that requires a facility proposed in the capitol area to also get the approval of the Legislative Council, made up of ten elected legislative leaders.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Augusta is moving forward with plans to build a new treatment facility for mentally ill patients who’ve committed crimes and no longer require hospital care as part of efforts to recoup federal certification for a neighboring psychiatric facility.

The Kennebec Journal reports the Planning Board on Tuesday approved plans to build the 21-bed rehabilitation facility next to the Riverview Psychiatric Center.

Members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee are raising questions about the LePage administration’s plan, announced earlier this year, to build a 21-bed forensic facility near the existing Riverview Psychiatric Center. Lawmakers want answers the administration is not providing.

Ever since the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was seeking bids to build and operate a facility to house forensic patients who don’t require hospitalization, the proposal has been met with skepticism.