The leader of the new state mental hospital in Butner says plans to transfer patients there from aging Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh should move ahead.
The state Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday interim Central Regional Hospital director Michael Lancaster made the recommendation this week.
The state has been working for months to complete the transfer but it's been delayed due to safety issues.
The Legislature said this summer that Central meet safety standards by outside agencies before completing the move.
Lancaster said it's not possible to meet one agency's standards until patients move in. But representatives with one agency have told regulators everything is in place for a successful transfer.
Central already had admitted patients from nearby John Umstead hospital.