The State’s Mental Health Hospitals Need a $1 Billion Upgrade

 

Cool Billion—The state’s mental health facilities are in bad shape. So bad that the Department of State Health Services says it needs about $1 billion for a fix-up. Writes the Dallas Morning News: “A majority of the 557 buildings across the 11 state hospital campuses were constructed between the 1930s and 1970s, with some dating back to the mid-1800s,” and 75 of those buildings are “uninhabitable.” The campuses are so outdated that it’s costing the state “millions” each year to maintain them, and is putting the safety of patients at risk. But one billion bucks is a lot of money. Like, a lot. Texas lawmakers have apparently been reluctant to shell out for less extensive (and less expensive) repairs to begin with, so it’s unsurprising that they’re balking at forking over a billion here. There isn’t a good track record in Texas when it comes to state-funded mental healthcare. According to the Morning News, in the last ten years the state has provided about ten percent of the amount of funding recommended by the department. But the department says these new changes are vital. Under the proposed plan, over a ten year period the state would completely rebuild five hospitals and significantly renovate others.