A new audit questions excessive overtime and other issues at one of our state’s largest psychiatric hospitals.
The report comes less than two years after it was revealed that some employees doubled their base pay with overtime.
State auditors took a look at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). The audit examined spending at state facilities including one we have focused on, the Whiting Forensic Division in Middletown. Whiting houses the state’s most acute psychiatric patients, some found not guilty of major crimes by reason of insanity.
Among the audit’s findings:
- Whiting employees were not required to sign in for shifts, resulting in auditor concerns if overtime was actually worked, or fairly distributed
- Whiting employees worked high numbers of consecutive work hours and days-some between 15 to almost 24 hours per day
- Eight of 10 employees reviewed worked 13 to 41 days in a row
Auditors expressed concern these long hours impact patient care. While there may not be a connection, at last count, more than 30 Whiting employees have either been put on administrative leave, or transferred out of Whiting due patient abuse investigations.
DMHAS told auditors it plans to purchase an electronic time keeping and scheduling system, and it has hired several nursing directors to monitor work hours and patient care. The agency says it cannot comment on the allegations of patient abuse, since they are part of an ongoing investigation.
You can read the DMHAS audit here.