Sen. Somers Releases Statement Re: Senate Passage of Bill Addressing Patient Abuse At Whiting Forensic Institute

May 5, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator and Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, Heather Somers (R-Groton), released the following statement regarding Senate passage of Senate Bill 404, An Act Concerning Mandated Reporters – which specifically addresses the alleged patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Institute.

“Today the Senate passed legislation that directly addresses the alleged patient abuse at the Whiting Forensic Institute,” said Sen. Somers. “These reports are truthfully shameful as they display a consistent lack of employee management and a failure to provide the most basic human rights to patients. This legislation is so important because it is the first step in giving confidence back to the citizens of Connecticut, the patients and residents at Whiting. We must demand that something like this never happens again in Connecticut. This legislation makes it clear that status quo at Whiting will no longer stand and enacts an independent oversight task force to verify this happens.”

The bill works to change the culture at the Whiting Forensic Institute by:


–        Separating the Whiting Forensic Institute from the Connecticut Valley Hospital to create two independently operated facilities

–        Creating an inspector general which will bring transparency and reformation to restore confidence

–        Creating a new, truly independent oversight taskforce that will critique the operations of the Whiting Hospital – the taskforce will report back to the Department of Public Health and to the Public Health Committee with their findings and recommendations

–        Requiring that anyone at DMHAS who has contact with patients be added to the state as a  mandatory reporter regarding suspected abuse of a patient

–        Requiring Whiting to become a licensed hospital

–        Requiring the DMHAS Commissioner to investigate reports she receives of suspected patient abuse

–        Requiring the Department of Public Health to perform on site investigations and report to the taskforce and the Public Health Committee

“This legislation will help to change Whiting from an institution that has been allowed to slide into the shadows of secrecy and elevate it to a licensed hospital that is transparent and treats all patients with dignity, safety and respect,” said Sen. Somers. “I want to thank my fellow colleagues who worked on this legislation. Working together we can provide the residents of Connecticut with better patient protections and offer employees at institutions like Whiting a culture that fosters a professional workplace environment – that is focused, like a laser, on providing patient care.”

Senate Bill 404 now heads to the House for final passage.