TRENTON – Senate President Richard J. Codey (D-Essex) today released the following statement on the U.S. Justice Department’s report on Ancora Psychiatric Hospital:
“Without a doubt, this is a very sobering report. It certainly underscores the need to move swiftly to pass several bills that we have pending before the legislature that would dramatically improve employee training, education and hiring standards at state psychiatric hospitals.
“Keeping in mind that the Department of Human Services (DHS) has already begun to implement a number of improvements, the areas highlighted in this report must be evaluated thoroughly to measure any progress that has been made and to help us zero in on the areas that need heightened attention.
“New Jersey has many dedicated workers who strive to give the best care possible. This report, in the long run, will hopefully help us strengthen that care.”
Sen. Codey is the sponsor of a package of bills, inspired in part by past events at Ancora, which are designed to protect patient safety and improve employee training and oversight at state psychiatric hospitals. Bill 2494, which would require DHS to report the number of physical assaults and deaths that occur at state psychiatric hospitals, recently passed both houses of the Legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. Bills S2492 and S2493, which would improve employee training standards and require employee drug testing, have received approval from the Senate health panel and are awaiting further legislative approval.
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