Feds ease mental-hospital oversight

Three of four state mental hospitals released from monitoring program

Only one of four California state mental-health hospitals previously under federal oversight is still subject to federal monitoring.

Four public hospitals—Patton State Hospital in San Bernadino, Atascadero State Hospital, Norwalk’s Metropolitan State Hospital and Napa State Hospital—have been closely supervised by federal regulators since 2006, when the U.S. Department of Justice sued California for violating patient rights by using excessive restraints and sedatives and failing to provide proper care, according to the Los Angeles Times. The lawsuit was settled with a court-supervised improvement plan. Patton and Atascadero were released from oversight last fall.

In her ruling on Sept. 24, U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins released Metropolitan but said she was still concerned by a death at Napa State Hospital last spring in which the patient was handcuffed in a prone position. Oversight at Napa is expected to continue for seven months to a year to ensure the hospital complies with federal recommendations.