Yes, improvements have been made to Riverview Psychiatric Center, due to improved pay for frontline workers (Our View, Sept. 23)! Great! But can you broaden your view and put a major spotlight on the entire range of services legally required under the Augusta Mental Health Institute consent decree?

For over 26 years, a comprehensive range of community mental health services has been legally required. Where are they? For much more than a decade, state government (the executive branch, the Legislature, the AMHI consent decree leadership) has focused on “bed think” rather than the entire system.

Constant budget cuts and frozen reimbursement rates, as well as the trauma of regular turnover in relationships with caregivers and very inadequate state systems planning, have, in my opinion, disrupted community programs, the taxpayer and, more importantly, the lives of those who need these much-less-expensive services.

Joe Pickering Jr.


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