The Caro Center expansion project would remain in Tuscola County under a budget proposal approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.
Rep. Phil Green said the plan for the 2019-2020 budget year clarifies the legislature’s intent to use funding to expand the psychiatric facility within the Caro Center and nowhere else.
“This budget proposal sends a message to the executive branch that the legislature stands behind its 2017 decision to dedicate funds for the new state psychiatric hospital here in the Thumb, the right place for the project,” Green said.
In March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer put plans to build a new Caro Center on hold, citing concerns over staffing, family interaction with patients, and access to water.
“Relocation of the facility would have dramatic, devastating repercussions to businesses, schools and families in communities throughout this region,” Green said. “The Caro site is the best possible place for this project. The 600-acre site is state-owned, and infrastructure is already in place. Plus it has easy access to state highways and nearby medical providers.”
Whitmer is scheduled to make her decision by the end of September, but Green said there is no time to waste.
“People across the state are crying out for access to quality mental health care,” Green said. “We simply can’t wait any longer for the additional beds this project would provide. I urge the governor to reconsider her decision to halt this important project.”