Add To Favorites

Warren County ARPA committee recommends $750,000 for Glens Falls Hospital to expand adolescent mental health services

Post-Star - 12/7/2022

Dec. 8—The Warren County ARPA Advisory Committee on Tuesday recommended giving $750,000 in funding for Glens Falls Hospital to expand its mental health service offerings.

The hospital had filed an application requesting funding from the county's allotment from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to improve its mental and behavioral health services, particularly for youths and adolescents at the hospital.

The county's Community Services Board, which received $1 million in ARPA funding and fielded its own requests, has already recommended $444,000 for the hospital.

Queensbury at-large Supervisor Rachel Seeber said she was in favor of giving the hospital officials all they asked for due to the "serious mental health problem" in the county. However, Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer, chairwoman of the committee, said the hospital's total request was for $2.5 million — too large of an ask for the committee to fulfill with the funding left.

Glens Falls Hospital spokesman and ARPA committee member Ray Agnew recused himself from the vote on the hospital application, but remained at the meeting to answer questions regarding the planned programming.

"We're seeing about 30% of the visits to our emergency room that involve behavioral health are with adolescents. The difference is in 2019, that was 30% of 150 to 200 patients a month. Now it's 30% of 450 to 700 patients a month," Agnew said at the meeting.

Agnew explained that because of the lack of a youth department in the Behavioral Health Unit, young people have been held in the crisis unit, which he described as a "windowless room in the emergency department," to isolate them from other adults suffering mental health emergencies.

"We provide tutoring if they are school-aged and have been there for more than 120 days at a time," Agnew said. "It's unthinkable in a lot of ways."

He also explained that "most of these visits" are paid by Medicaid, which only gives the hospital a one-time emergency services payment.

Agnew said the hospital is not only depending on government funding, but also raised a total of $1.4 million in cash donations and pledges through community fundraising efforts.

Queensbury at-large Supervisor Mike Wild, who is also on the committee, asked if any more fundraising could be done to lower the amount requested.

Ultimately, the committee voted unanimously, with Agnew's abstention, to recommend $750,000 to the full Board of Supervisors on Dec. 16.

Agnew added that as soon as the $2.5 million needed to upgrade the facility was raised, the project would start.

Liza Ochsendorf, Warren County's director of workforce development, also spoke at the committee meeting about the importance of mental health. She began by explaining the employment challenges that come along with lack of mental health services for residents of the county.

"Our current and future workforce in the community is being impacted by mental health challenges. Mental health definitely continues to be a barrier to employment — not only in our community, but in our nation, and people battling these challenges are doing it with fewer resources these days," Ochsendorf said.

She added that in previous conversations with the committee, she has emphasized the importance of "investing in youth now or pay for it later in social services or criminal justice."

Ochsendorf said with Warren County considered an aging community, adolescents are the future employees.

"Some of your colleagues in other counties in New York have chosen to use ARPA funds for a lot of mental health investments. I know you have already allocated $1 million to community services, which I commend, but I think we need more," she said.

Jana DeCamilla is a staff writer who covers Moreau, Queensbury, Warren County and Lake George. She can be reached at 518-903-9937 or


(c)2022 The Post Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.)

Visit The Post Star (Glens Falls, N.Y.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.