Senator Somers, Lawmakers Conduct Public Hearing Regarding Patient Safety at State-Run Facility

November 13, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) released the following statement following the day-long informational and public hearing regarding the alleged patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Institute Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital.

“I believe today’s public hearing was a highly productive first step and brought to light many ways in which we can deliver better care for patients here in Connecticut,” said Sen. Somers. “While I am encouraged to hear that DMHAS is working to improve the overall culture and system oversight at Whiting, I am still not convinced that these steps are enough to address this systematic and egregious breakdown. It will take an enormous amount of corrective measures and evidence of these measures for my confidence in their managing capabilities to be restored; in this sentiment I know I am not alone.

“Today was an important step forward in getting to the bottom of this systematic breakdown in leadership and management of an institution that is meant to provide care to patients in an effort to rehabilitate them,” said Sen. Somers. “Moving forward, I think the state must also be acutely aware of the role that top management and unions play in making employees feel comfortable coming forward, and in the ability of a hospital administration to effectively address instances of patient abuse. I believe DPH will be a vital component and partner in addressing the many concerning issues facing Whiting and CVH Hospital as a whole.”

“While this was an important day, it is only the first step in many that are needed to right this wrong,” said Sen. Somers. “I will continue to work with my fellow Public Health Committee members to evaluate what we have heard today and plan the next steps that must be taken during the upcoming legislative session.”

In addition to the public hearing, there is an anonymous tip line at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for the public to report any issues of concern: the phone number is 877-277-9471.