Norfolk Town Meeting

More than 500 people were in attendance at the Norfolk Town meeting held Sunday night at the Northeast Community college.

They met to discuss the state plan to re-direct federal money from treatment centers for the mentally ill and behaviorally challenged to community based programs.

The plan, backed by Governor Johans, calls for the closure of two of the three state treament centers in Norfolk and Hastings. Closures that would take effect as early as 2005.

The rationale behind the states plan is that it would allow more federally funded monies as a result of matched funding from Medicare. Allowing 50 counties that currently do not have any services to recieve some treatment.

Opponents of the closure argue that the shift in funding would cause a domino effect in Norfolk, with the loss of 310 jobs, and more than 100 patients who would be displaced.

The proposed plan also calls for a new treatment center in Omaha which would house 60 patients, whereas the total number of patients in the two centers which would close is 260.

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