Could Calif.’s Psych Hospitals Be Ordered to Admit Inmates With COVID?

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From CalMatters: “In an Oct. 23 hearing, attorneys representing mentally ill prison inmates awaiting state psychiatric beds argued the hospitals are violating court-imposed timelines for transfers and should start accepting the prisoners without first requiring negative COVID tests. To avoid delays, they say, the hospitals should even start admitting prisoners who have tested positive . . .

Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could rule as early as Thursday on the matter . . . Hospital officials fear a victory for the plaintiffs could be devastating, due to what Medical Director Katherine Warburton called in her testimony ‘the unique and exquisite risk of this virus once it’s introduced into our patient population’ . . .

Ann Lyles, chief negotiator for the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, which represents nearly 3,800 frontline hospital workers, said in an interview that, with infections soaring, ‘it doesn’t seem to me a good time to move a patient who is COVID positive, or could be COVID positive, into a place where this could spread — and do us in.'”

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