Review: State Hospitals Could Use More Oversight

A nurse tends to a recovering patient at a hospital. (credit: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong)

A nurse tends to a recovering patient at a hospital. (credit: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong)

AUSTIN (AP) — A Texas newspaper’s review of more than three dozen deaths at state-run mental health hospitals between 2005 and 2012 shows the need for more oversight. Texas Department of State Health Services officials say they welcome additional scrutiny and feedback to improve the lives of patients.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday that patient deaths are usually reviewed by the hospital where they died and the state agency. An expert hired by the newspaper to review government and other public database documents says there are systemic problems in the state’s investigations.

The number of deaths didn’t seem excessive to Dr. Sidney Weissman, who’s a psychiatrist and professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Weissman did note lapses in leadership, flaws in care and a reluctance to take responsibility for shortcomings.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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