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Mental Health Unit Closes at SCI-Rockview

by and on November 15, 2019 12:00 AM

The Department of Corrections has closed the mental health unit at SCI-Rockview. The closure was effective Oct. 30, and inmates who were still in treatment in the unit were transferred to SCI-Waymart in Wayne County for continued services.

The unit had been in place at SCI-Rockview since October 2005, said DOC press secretary Maria A. Finn.

The unit serviced in-patient mental health inmate patients and was regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Mental Health Procedures Act.

Finn said the change comes so the state can begin streamlining mental health services to a single location at SCI-Waymart.

“The rationale for the changes is the consolidation of the in-patient level of care, along with better coordination with the step-down/step-up process from in-patient treatment to either long-term inpatient treatment or to an intermediate care unit, which is also only available at SCI-Waymart," Finn said. "Ultimately, the rationale behind this change was so that the department is better able to meet the needs of our population at a single location for the in-patient level of mental health care.”

She said inmates at SCI-Rockview will continue to receive the same care they were receiving here in Centre County.

“This level of care will still be afforded to those patients who require that level of care. It will simply be delivered at SCI-Waymart,” Finn said. “The MHU is specifically for those individuals who meet the in-patient level of care needed, as outlined by the Mental Health Procedures Act and regulated by the Department of Human Services.

“Those individuals that were ready for discharge from the MHU were discharged and transferred back to their home facilities,” she continued. “Those individuals requiring further in-patient treatment were transferred to SCI-Waymart, the location of the new MHU, in order for them to continue to properly and lawfully receive this level of in-patient mental health care.”

The only DOC staff that was employed within the MHU at SCI-Rockview were corrections officers.

“Those individuals will remain employed at Rockview and will simply be re-deployed to different posts in the Rockview facility. This change will not affect the individuals housed at Rockview in anyway,” said Finn. “All MHU staff, besides the corrections officers, was contract employees, contracted by the DOC to a company called Centurion.”

Centurion’s website said it provides health care services to governmental agencies in a wide variety of patient care settings, including correctional facilities, state hospitals, courts, juvenile facilities and community clinics. Centurion did not return phone calls placed by The Centre County Gazette.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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