Federal Plan for State Mental Hospital Reforms Detailed
Prosecutors on Tuesday filed a consent decree in Los Angeles federal court that details a plan to prevent suicides and assaults, reduce the use of seclusion and restraints and offer more personalized care to patients with mental illnesses at state hospitals, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A lawsuit also was filed that accuses the hospitals of "egregiously and flagrantly" depriving patients of their rights by offering services substantially lower than "generally accepted professional standards of care" and failing to provide "adequate protections from harm."
The lawsuit and consent decree name only Metropolitan and Napa state hospitals but will be amended to include Patton and Atascadero state hospitals.
Virginia physician Mohamed El-Sabaawi was named the court-appointed monitor to oversee reforms at the state hospitals. El-Sabaawi also has supervised reforms of Kentucky's inpatient psychiatric system.
The consent decree contains details regarding:
- Types of acceptable restraints;
- Which patients should have their medications reviewed;
- Methods for shifting to a "recovery model" of care;
- The timeline for assessing new patients;
- Access to vision and dental care; and
- Infection control.
State officials estimate that the reforms and other facility improvements will cost about $44 million.
The U.S. Attorney General's Office on Tuesday submitted findings of recent investigations of Patton and Atascadero to state officials. According to documents filed in federal court, patients' constitutional rights also were violated at the two facilities (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 5/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.