Bruce Johnson (Part 3)

Headed an Interagency Task Force on State Hospital Closings

The Complexity of Closure Negotiations

(Run time 1:58)

The Moose Lake program was primarily for people with mental health issues. There was a relatively small population there of people with developmental disabilities.

It may have been comparable in size to some of the other institutions, but I think it really actually had a smaller population of people with adult mental disabilities. And it was a very intriguing problem because what we really had to deal with was not the issues with people with developmental disabilities, but how do you construct a system of community mental health that, you know, throughout that region of the state that could take up the mission of what the RTC was doing.

Basically at the same time, and I think one of the main problems in all three institutions, was that a lot of people at that point in time equated deinstitutionalization with privatization. And I think certainly, you know, the State workers that were at the institutions were very concerned in terms of losing their jobs.

So, these were... the issues at Moose Lake were a little bit different than, say they were at Faribault, which I think served only people with developmental disabilities, but they were on a smaller scale, and in a way that was good, because we approached those issues in Moose Lake they were containable. They were a minor piece of the problem, so that when we subsequently went to start negotiating at Faribault, we had some positive experience to build on.