Budget stalemate delays opening of 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital

The on-going state budget stalemate means a 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital won't open as planned this fall.

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New Hampshire has been working to improve its mental health infrastructure since settling a lawsuit with the federal government in late 2013 over inadequate services. The 2014-2015 state budget included money to build the new crisis unit, but money to hire staff and operate the unit was set to be included in the 2016-2017 budget that Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed.

Now operating on fiscal year 2015 levels, the state's health department doesn't have the money to staff and open the crisis unit.

Officials say the delay puts a continued strain on local emergency rooms that can start sending patients to the crisis unit once it is up and running.

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This story has been corrected to show that the state settled a lawsuit with the federal government in late 2013, not last year.