Hastings Regional Center

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Hastings leaders, hoping to put the brakes on a state plan to shut down regional centers in Norfolk and Hastings, made a pitch to several state senators.

Representatives from Hastings' hospitals, the Regional Center and police department came Thursday to share their expertise in support for keeping the centers open.

Four state senators showed up at the forum. One, Doug Cunningham from Wausa, says he earlier went along with the idea of a need to improve mental health care in Nebraska.

But he says when he saw this proposal and starting doing the numbers, he now opposes the proposed reforms.

One theme that kept coming up at yesterday's session was just because Medicaid may be available does not mean patients will qualify under more community-based programs.

Hastings Chamber of Commerce President Tom Hastings says if senators take time and become knowledgeable about the issue, "there is only one way they could really vote, and that is to not close the regional centers."