Shumlin criticized for mental health cuts

State lawmakers are voicing concern that Governor Peter Shumlin’s budget cuts will hurt the state’s mental health system just as it is trying to recover from the storm-forced closure of the Vermont State Hospital. Up for debate is a reduction of nearly half the 38 so-called step-down beds for patients who need housing and supervision but are not acute enough to require hospitalization. Some lawmakers say the cuts run directly counter to a plan to redesign the state’s mental health system by replacing more than half the 54 beds that were at the Waterbury hospital with beds in less intensive settings.