State Disputes Some Findings of DOJ Report on Mental Hospitals
Federal inspectors in a report posted online last week did not include "more current information" about conditions at state mental hospitals, Department of Mental Health Director Stephen Mayberg said in an interview on Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 7/31).
A Department of Justice report posted online on July 26 said that Napa State Hospital does not adequately provide medical and psychiatric care to its 1,100 patients. The report was based primarily on inspections of the hospital this year by CMS and DHS.
DOJ officials state in the report that DMH attempted to deny federal investigators access to Napa State Hospital, as well as Atascadero State Hospital near San Luis Obispo and Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, two other state mental hospitals DOJ seeks to investigate (California Healthline, 7/27).
Mayberg said that he did not expect the allegations of improper care DOJ made in the report. Specifically, Mayberg denied DOJ's allegation that inspectors had been denied from visiting the Napa facility and said that negotiations over reforms at the hospital had been going smoothly until an attorney for the state died in April. He also said that the report was misleading about the amount of time that patients are kept in restraints or seclusion because of improvements that have been made recently.
Mayberg said that other major changes are being made systemwide but that completion of the changes will "take three to five years." He added, "This is not something we can fix overnight."
Mayberg also said the state might allow DOJ officials to inspect the hospitals if officials can be assured that the inspection plan will not disrupt services.
Eric Holland, a spokesperson for DOJ, said he did not have any comment beyond what was in the reports (Los Angeles Times, 7/31).