State regulators have prohibited a Brookline psychiatric hospital from admitting any patients, citing deteriorating conditions and an immediate risk to patient safety.
Inspectors made a surprise visit to Arbour-HRI in October, after receiving a report about a female patient being forcibly searched, an incident that state Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler described in an interview Monday as “a very serious human rights violation.” The inspectors identified a range of problems, including dirty conditions and untrained or inexperienced staff, she said.
Fowler was pointed in her criticism of Arbour-HRI officials. The problems inspectors found indicate a “lack of leadership and oversight of that facility,” she said. The first improvement plan was so poor, she said, that it appeared hospital administrators “really seemed to miss the point.”
The union that represents nurses and mental health workers at the hospital expressed support Monday for the state’s move to freeze admissions.
Jeff Hall, spokesman for Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, said members have been telling hospital administrators for years that the facility was understaffed, needed security guards, and lacked the necessary doctors and other medical resources to meet patient needs.
“The appeals by health care workers for improved conditions and staffing at Arbour-HRI have been repeatedly and chronically disregarded by Arbour and its parent company Universal Health Services,” he said in an e-mail.