Staffing Problems Remain at Atascadero State Hospital
Union representatives and Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-San Luis Obispo) met with Department of Mental Health officials on Tuesday to discuss a response plan to staffing shortages at Atascadero State Hospital that workers and representatives say affect worker and patient safety, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
According to ASH psychiatrist and hospital safety advocate John Cannell, DMH Director Stephen Mayberg "made it clear that he wasn't going to change anything," adding, "He made no promises to change any policies."
Mayberg noted that the upcoming state budget includes funding for 450 new staff positions at ASH, according to MHD spokesperson Kirsten Macintyre. However, no direct action was expected as a result of the meeting, the Tribune reports.
Some ASH staff members said the new positions will not alleviate underlying safety and recruitment problems at the state hospital.
In related news, Citizens Against Violence at Atascadero State Hospital asked ASH employees to attend a town hall-style meeting with Assembly member Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) on Friday.
Blakeslee is drafting a bill that would increase penalties for patients who attack ASH medical staff (Curran, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/16).