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Bellefontaine will not likely be closing soon

February 28, 2005
By: Daniel Frumson
State Capital Bureau

Even though nothing is set in stone, supporters for the closure of the Bellefontaine Habilitation Center want to get the process started. Dan Frumson has more from the state Capitol.

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During a house appropriations committee, Department of Mental Health Director Dorn Schuffman said that the institution would not close soon. Opponents say closing Bellefontaine will leave hundreds of patients without proper care. Schuffman said he's more than willing to work with them.

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"And we're now at a point where we can start meeting with families and saying here's the general road-map. It's not closing July 1st; it's not closing October 1st. It's going to take us some time and here's the general process."

Supporters of the closure say they want to eventually move patients to private community facilites. But opponents say communities will not provide adequate assistance to most patients. From the state Capitol, I'm Dan Frumson.

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Experts testified at the Capitol that private communities will be able to properly care for the patients at Bellefontaine. Dan Frumson has more from the state Capitol.

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While speaking on behalf of the Missouri Association of Rehabilitaion Facilities, the Life Skills Foundation Executive Director Wendy Bealer said