Remaining Lakeshore workers lose jobs

Remaining Lakeshore workers lose jobs

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The majority of Lakeshore patients were transferred from the facility last summer. The majority of Lakeshore patients were transferred from the facility last summer.
"We just didn't have enough trips to warrant the number of staff and the amount it's costing to do that," said Commissioner Doug Varney. "We just didn't have enough trips to warrant the number of staff and the amount it's costing to do that," said Commissioner Doug Varney.
Ben Harrington with the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee says while this final cut is sad, mental health care has improved drastically since Lakeshore's closure. Ben Harrington with the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee says while this final cut is sad, mental health care has improved drastically since Lakeshore's closure.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The fourteen workers that remain on staff at Lakeshore Mental Health Institute will soon be losing their jobs, too.

Workers were notified Monday that they would be let go, effective July 1, according to Department of Mental Health Commissioner Doug Varney.

The workers had been transporting patients from mental health private practices locally to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Hospital in Chattanooga.

"We just didn't have enough trips to warrant the number of staff and the amount it's costing to do that," said Varney. "We will still continue to come pick up people from Peninsula Hospital or Woodridge or Ridgeview if they are not able to handle them, but we just can't keep a full-time full contingent of staff here in Knoxville."

Moccasin Bend will take over the transportation of patients from local practices.

Ben Harrington is the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee. He says while this final cut is sad, mental health care has improved drastically since Lakeshore's closure.

"We went from serving about 2,500 people a year annually at Lakeshore to serving about 10,000 total folks annually with the dollars being reinvested in community mental health and addiction services," said Harrington.

The majority of Lakeshore patients were transferred from the facility last summer.

The remaining ten to twelve long-term patients are being relocated this week to a renovated cottage on campus that will be run by the Helen Ross McNabb Center.

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