Gov. Nixon Says New Fulton State Hospital Could Be Impossible

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FULTON - Governor Nixon toured the Fulton State Hospital Tuesday and spoke to the media about the impact of a vetoed tax bill on making hospital improvements.

Nixon said if the legislature overturns his veto of House Bill 253, it will not be possible to build a new facility for the hospital's 320 patients.

The Fulton State Hospital is a mental health facility that houses patients in maximum, medium and minimum security buildings.

"With a price tag of $800 million annually, House Bill 253 would undermine our ability to support vital public services like those provided here at Fulton for years to come," Nixon said.

During the tour, one doctor told the governor that it is a waste to keep throwing money into a facility whose structure is crumbling.

Governor Nixon said the campus is in need of a complete rebuild, and it is a critical priority for the state.

The hospital's Chief Operating Officer Marty Martin-Forman has worked at Fulton State Hospital for 33 years. She said they have needed a new facility since 1999.

"I was able to show him the deteriorating conditions of the building as well as our dietary area. And those were the two main things we wanted him to see today," Martin-Forman said.

Nixon toured the maximum security Biggs Forensic Center which staff said has features that are unsafe for patients and are not suitable for modern psychiatric treatment.

Martin-Foreman believes a new hospital facility is possible.

"I have a great deal of faith that this state will eventually figure out what they need to do," she  said.

Republicans who want to overturn the governor's veto on House Bill 253 say the tax cuts could reduce state tax revenues.

Republican State Representative T.J. Berry sponsored the bill. He said that funding the new hospital and his tax reform plan are unrelated.

The Fulton State Hospital was the second stop on Nixon's tour today. He started in Columbia talking about the affect of House Bill 253 on education.