WNYCPC Relocation – Public Engagement Process
In response to public concern regarding the planned relocation of Western NY Children’s Psychiatric Center (WNYCPC) inpatient capacity from West Seneca to Buffalo, OMH has embarked on a lengthy public engagement process in order to hear such concerns firsthand, and to work with stakeholders in developing a solution that will be best for the children and families of Western New York. This extensive outreach has included:
- OMH representatives, including Commissioner Sullivan, have traveled to Western New York multiple times since 2014 to meet with the “Save Our WNYCPC” group that is opposed to the relocation of inpatient services.
- Commissioner Sullivan met in person with every member of the Western NY legislative delegation at least once during the State Fiscal Year 2015-16 Budget negotiations to discuss relocation plans, and has continued to meet with legislators through 2017 in order to address their questions and concerns. There have been at least thirty to forty meetings and phone calls with State legislators on this issue since 2014.
- In 2014 and 2015, the OMH Western NY Field Office and Western NY facility directors met regularly with community providers, county mental health officials, family advocates and other stakeholders to develop additional children’s services.
- Commissioner Sullivan testified to an Assembly hearing on Western NYCPC on May 29, 2015 in Buffalo, and stayed following her testimony to receive the feedback of all hearing attendees.
- The Executive Directors of Buffalo PC and WNYCPC chaired a workgroup composed of family members, advocates, providers, labor unions, and local officials to provide input into the interior design and help sculpt the look and feel of the new indoor and outdoor spaces. This workgroup met four times between June and August 2015 and drafted recommendations to OMH to consider as capital designs are further developed.
- Two public forums were held in Buffalo in September of 2015, and a webpage was created to solicit input from a broader audience on the capital plans. The public forums were formally announced under the OMH Public Notices web page, through emails and phone calls to legislators, and through social media. The forums were attended by approximately 90 people over two days, and included over a dozen speakers, including State legislators from the region.
- A public comment period to accept web-based comments on the capital design of the new children’s space in Buffalo ran from September 3, 2015 to October 29, 2015; significantly exceeding the 30-day period outlined in the State Budget agreement.
- The Commissioner toured the WNYCPC and Buffalo PC facilities with State legislators on October 1, 2015.
- The Commissioner, OMH Executive staff, and architect for the new children’s space met with the Buffalo News Editorial Board and a Buffalo News staff reporter on November 18, 2015 to discuss the relocation and capital design plans.
- OMH, the Governor’s staff, and Division of Budget met with the “Save Our WNYCPC” coalition in Albany on January 5, 2016 to discuss their continuing concerns.
- The Commissioner has testified at three annual Joint Legislative Budget Hearings (2015, 2016, and 2017), and addressed WNYCPC questions at length.
- On November 18, 2016, the Commissioner held phone calls with WNY legislators to brief them on the planned release of capital construction bid documents prior to their issuance. OMH representatives also briefed local mental health officials in the region on the same day.