Gabor Degre / BDN

Gov. Janet Mills is abandoning the proposal initiated by her predecessor to create a so-called “step down” unit in Bangor to handle psychiatric patients who don’t need hospital care, but are still considered a risk to the public.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state auditor says Maine should stop following legal advice to use millions of dollars in federal funds for a psychiatric hospital that's lost federal certification.
Auditor Pola Buckley says the state keeps using such funds despite facing a $51 million penalty from the federal government for doing so. Maine lawmakers set aside $65 million last summer in case Maine must pay the fine.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration is appealing the penalty.

BANGOR, Maine -- Members of the Bangor City Council fast-tracked an order imposing an immediate six-month moratorium against the construction of any new psychiatric facilities in the area after a unanimous vote Monday night.

The action came in response to plans advanced by the LePage administration to build a 21-bed “step-down” forensic psychiatric facility on Hogan Road.

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 - The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has voted unanimously to recommend that the Legislative Council approve construction of a secure forensic unit adjacent to the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, should Gov. Paul LePage seek to build the facility at that location.

LePage has called for an alternative site in Bangor. Republican Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, who serves on the committee, says his city is a better site for the project.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage has delivered a blistering rebuke to lawmakers and says a request for proposals will soon unveil new details about his administration's plans to build a new, privately run state psychiatric facility in Bangor.

Gov. Paul LePage took to the airwaves of WGAN Thursday and announced he is giving up on a site for a new forensic hospital that was planned next to the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.

The governor’s announcement came just as the two top leaders in the Legislature reached agreement on expedited hearings on the facility, which would house patients in state custody who are found “not criminally responsible” by the courts.

The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee has voted 11 to 1 to subpoena Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Riverview Psychiatric Center Superintendent Jay Harper to answer questions about issues plaguing the hospital.