New Canaan’s highest elected official is proposing a new fund to be overseen by a prominent nonprofit organization that would help town residents seeking psychiatric treatment following substance-related emergencies.
The fund would cover treatment at Silver Hill Hospital for people coming out of Norwalk Hospital following emergency admissions for overdoses or other problems involving substances, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. About $500,000 would be needed to kickstart the fund, to be managed by the New Canaan Community Foundation and serving those who are unable to pay for treatment at the Valley Road facility through private health insurance, he said during a press briefing held Wednesday in his Town Hall office.
“Money should never be the issue,” Moynihan said during the briefing, also attended by Patch and Hearst Connecticut.
“Families that face that a crisis don’t know what to do and they don’t know where to turn. And there are agencies around—if you decide to go to this one in Westport or go to this one in Greenwich, who are you dealing with, right? We have a world-class hospital in New Canaan that deals with virtually any problem that is related to substance abuse. Why not just make sure that they know they can go there and we will figure it out?”
Proposed during a meeting of a coalition that addresses substance abuse, the idea has found early support from the new president and medical director at Silver Hill as well as the head of the Community Foundation, Moynihan said.
“I think this is something people will rally around to support, so people know that they have the ability to go to Silver Hill Hospital,” Moynihan said.
He added, “Silver Hill Hospital now does some charity work as a nonprofit but they they consider part of their community obligation to do something like this. So I think this would be a very good thing to pursue.”
Though residents still would need to go to Norwalk Hospital for health emergencies, that facility “has no psychiatric care,” Moynihan said.
“You have to go somewhere else from there,” he said.
Silver Hill often is viewed as an “exclusive private hospital,” Moynihan said, but “that should not be perception.”
“I lived here 36 years and I’ve always regarded it as an exclusive private hospital,” he said. “They do not want to be viewed that way.”