Doctors Criticize Increase of Psychologists at State Hospital
Physicians at Atascadero State Hospital criticized a state budget proposal that would add 57 senior psychologist positions in an effort to shift away from medication-based care and toward a counseling-based approach, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
Although some hospital staff are resisting the shift to a psychology-based recovery model, both sides of the argument say an increase in staff and safety improvements are needed at ASH. Last year 393 aggressive acts toward staff were reported at the hospital, including 26 that resulted in serious injury, the Tribune reports.
Assembly member Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) is developing a bill that would increase penalties against some patients who assault staff members. Such a bill could make attacks on hospital staff a felony, according to the Tribune.
Frank Ausilio, an ASH social worker and union steward, said the new treatment method would make already strained staff members responsible for a large number of treatment groups and paperwork.
However, proponents of the proposal say the current medication-based treatment model allows staff to control patients inside the hospital, but does not prepare patients to be released (Curran, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 4/2).