Today we are going to be talking about the investigations in our state hospital system by the United States Department of Justice. In both their reviews of the children's and adult programs at Metropolitan State Hospital in Southern Califomia, as well as the more recent review in Napa State Hospital, the Department of Justice found significant and substantial deficiencies in virtually every aspect of patient care. Sadly, this is not the first time such concerns have been raised. And sadly and alarmingly, since the issuance of these reports, problems have continued, including suicides and homicide.
Additionally, as noted in the report on Napa State Hospital, the Department of Justice has alleged that the state denied them access in conducting their review. This is an alarming accusation that needs to be addressed and is one of the purposes of today's hearing.
Our goal today is to understand the issues raised in the Department of Justice report, of the department's response to them, what we must do to improve the quality of care in these facilities, and what the implications are if we don't improve the care. I hope we can have a frank discussion about what it will take on all of our parts to create the kind of safe and positive environment I know we all strive for in our state hospitals. And in fact, I represent the right of patients to have that type of positive environment.
Senate Select Committee on Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health, "Review of the Federal Department of Justice Investigation of California State Mental Hospitals" (2005). California Senate. 222.