The state of Michigan's plan to close three psychiatric hospitals has been put on hold by judges in two counties.
Wayne County Circuit Judge J.W. Callahan signed a restraining order on March 31 that prevents closings of Clinton Valley Center in Pontiac, Detroit Psychiatric Institute and the Pheasant Ridge psychiatric hospital for children in Kalamazoo.
The Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Michigan had filed the lawsuit, along with several people and their families and some employees, said attorney Susan McParland of Michigan Legal Services.
Ingham County Circuit Judge Lawrence Glazer issued a temporary restraining order April 1 preventing the state from laying off or transferring any members of Local 25 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who work at Clinton Valley, Detroit Psychiatric Institute, Pheasant Ridge or a state psychiatric center in Southgate, the Detroit Free Press reported.
The Wayne County case is scheduled for a hearing April 9, the Ingham County case on April 15.
Geralyn Lasher, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said both actions are frivolous because not enough patients are admitted to keep the centers open. She said only one child was a patient at Pheasant Ridge as of last week.
Still, McParland said there is a need for the facilities.
"There is a tremendous unmet need for people in Michigan who require longer-term psychiatric care, and the elimination of these facilities is just one step closer to the complete dismantling of a public mental health system in Michigan," she said.
Patients who were housed in the hospitals will instead be placed in community homes, Lasher said.
"When you're in the community level, it's a much better environment," she said. "That's where we're seeing great success and great progress being made."
The Alliance for the Mentally Ill unsuccessfully tried to block the closing of Lafayette Clinic in Detroit a few years ago.