Long-term patients leaving Ala.'s Bryce Hospital

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - A spokesman for the Alabama Department
of Mental Health says nearly a third of the patients at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa will move into community-based care over the next six months.

Spokesman John Ziegler says the transition will begin on Tuesday. He says 24 patients will be moved every other month between now and December, for a total of 96.

Instead of a hospital setting, patients will be placed in supported apartments or small group homes where they will be checked on every day.

The state has been planning the move for a year, with input from community mental health providers.

The state estimates that a single bed at Bryce costs $137,000 per year.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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