State To Delay Closing Of Mental Hospitals

The state is delaying the closing of Dorothea Dix and John Umstead mental health hospitals by 60 days.

State health officials said Thursday that they want to give the new management at Broughton Hospital time to improve operations and resolve any construction problems at a new facility in Butner.

Dempsey Benton, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, also said he will convene three separate work groups to assess various operations.

The announcement comes after Governor Mike Easley ordered Benton to fix problems at the state's 14 facilities for mental health, developmental disabled and substance abuse patients.