Lawmakers Pushing for Bills To Boost Safety at Mental Health Facilities
California lawmakers are promoting proposals aimed at curbing violence at state mental health care facilities, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In 2006, violent incidents and other issues prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to file a lawsuit and order reforms at four of California's five state-run mental health hospitals. Despite the court-ordered reforms, the number of assaults against staff and patients has increased at most of the facilities, the Times reports.
According to a study obtained by California's Select Committee on State Hospital Safety, there were about 6,700 aggressive incidents and about 5,100 injuries at the state's mental health facilities in 2010. Of those injuries, about 1,000 happened to staff members.
Addressing Safety Concerns
Several proposed measures aim to address safety concerns at state mental health hospitals. The proposals include:
- SB 60, by Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), which would require officials to conduct violence assessments and place the most violent patients in special units;
- AB 366, by Assembly member Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa), which would make it easier to mandate medication for patients who are deemed incompetent to stand trial; and
- AB 933, by Allen, which would improve disability insurance policies for all staff at state mental health facilities.
In addition, the state Department of Mental Health is calling for better alarm and surveillance systems at California's mental health facilities (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 3/16).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.