State Rescinds Report Critical of Staffing at Atascadero State Hospital
The Department of Health Services has rescinded a finding last month that staffing at Atascadero State Hospital was inadequate, saying that the ruling had been based on information that was not applicable to the hospital, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports (Railey, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/26).
The DHS report said that ASH was in violation for not providing an adequate physician-to-patient ratio. The report stated that the hospital should have had 69.75 physicians on staff to treat 1,332 patients housed at the facility as of Dec. 20, 2004. ASH had 42.5 physician positions filled and six vacancies for psychiatrists.
Complaints from psychiatrists at the facility -- which houses sexually violent predators and "people declared mentally incompetent, legally insane or mentally disordered" -- spurred the DHS investigation, according to the Tribune (Railey, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/25).
Currently, 23 psychiatrists treat 1,312 patients at the facility, the Tribune reports.
DHS spokesperson Lea Brooks said the physician-to-patient ratios referenced in the report were based on ASH budget documents, which subsequently were found not to be applicable.
DHS spokesperson Ken August said the Department of Mental Health contested the deficiency report. He said, "We reviewed the issue and determined we could not substantiate the deficiency" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 5/26).