Mental Health Tech Felt "'Unsafe'" Due to Staffing Level; Patient Forbidden from Calling Abuse Hotline

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) found University Behavioral Center “failed to ensure there was sufficient staffing . . . to ensure appropriate interventions were implemented by staff.” Following a behavioral incident that led to a patient requiring one on one monitoring, one unit was staffed with only three mental health technicians to cover fourteen adolescent patients, plus a registered nurse who was floating between two units. A mental health technician stated that she had felt “‘unsafe'” on the unit during this shift and told her supervisors, but no additional staff was provided. In its plan of correction, the facility agreed to end its practice of reducing the number of staff when patients left on temporary home passes during the weekend.

Additionally, AHCA found that the facility violated a patient’s rights by preventing her from calling the Abuse Hotline. The patient said she was told “‘there was too much going on,'” and that staff also would not let her submit an internal grievance.