Jackson: Accountability, transparency still crucial for new step-down facility

Posted: December 22, 2016 | Senator Jackson


AUGUSTA — Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash released the following statement regarding ongoing work by the Legislature to provide adequate transparency and oversight to ensure a new step-down facility for patients at Riverview Psychiatric Center meets the needs of both patients and taxpayers.

“Creating a new psychiatric care facility is a big deal,” Jackson said. “The governor should not expect to take such drastic steps without any accountability or transparency. Last week, legislative leaders and the executive branch agreed to hold public hearings to find answers, and we are still committed to that process.”

“No one disagrees about the need for this facility. But taxpayers deserve to know that its construction and operation have been vetted,” Jackson said. “There are still many questions: It’s no secret that rumors are swirling about privatization, but we still don’t know one way or the other whether that’s part of the governor’s plan. If it is, what would that privatization look like for patients? Who would be entrusted with their care? What factors will be considered before a contract is handed out? Would the state realize any savings, or would it simply outsource state funds to a private corporation without any benefit to taxpayers?”

“I look forward to the public hearing that’s scheduled to take place in January, and hope these questions can be resolved so that this facility can be approved for construction right here in Augusta, where it belongs.”