Former chair of psychology at Norwalk Hospital opposes plan to close the ward

NORWALK — After serving as the department’s director for decades, Dr. Richard Maiberger was emotional when he pleaded with Norwalk Hospital and state officials not to close the facility’s inpatient psychiatric ward.

Maiberger spoke Wednesday during a public hearing for the state’s Office of Health Strategy to consider a request from Nuvance Health, which operates Norwalk Hospital, to end inpatient mental health services.

In the application, hospital officials outlined plans to shift mental health services to a preventative approach, with a focus on Intensive Outpatient Programs. For people who need hospital care, the hospital would refer patients to Danbury Hospital’s inpatient mental health unit, which is also operated by Nuvance.

But for opponents of the plan like Maiberger, who spent most of his career working in Norwalk Hospital’s mental health services unit and served as chairman of psychiatry from 2003 to 2007, sending local residents elsewhere to receiving this treatment would be a disservice to them.

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