NEW BEDFORD — The battle over beds at Taunton State Hospital has taken a turn in favor of keeping them in service for another year, passing through a powerful Senate committee on the way to a full Senate vote.
The House has already voted to keep open 45 continuing care beds. However, it is not in Gov. Deval Patrick's budget.
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its budget Wednesday with funding to keep open the beds at the Taunton mental health facility, according to Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton. An additional 52 beds would open at Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, bringing the total number of beds to 671 across the state.
For three straight years the governor's budget has aimed to eliminate the beds, the only ones available in the Southeast corner of the state. Pushing local access to mental health care, Pacheco each year has filed language to keep the beds, overriding two vetoes.