Department of Mental Health

New safety alarms for Napa hospital workers

carabiner_alarm_web.jpgDMH nurses, health care workers can wear the alarm in their belt loops

In response to pressure from members, the Department of State Hospitals (formerly Department of Mental Health) has agreed to allow workers at Napa State Hospital to wear their new personal alarms on their belts instead of around their necks with lanyards.

"We are finally seeing some of the safety changes implemented that we have fought for," said Kim Cowart, a nurse at Napa State Hospital and chair of Bargaining Unit 17.   

DMH employees take to the capitol

cal_dmh.jpgA team of DMH employees who work in our state hospitals participated in a member led legislative activity with one message - "DMH management is moving without you!"

On April 9, employees from the Department of Mental Health (DMH) lobbied and testified before the Assembly Budget Sub-Committee 1 (Health and Human Services) regarding the rapid transition of DMH to the Department of State Hospitals.

DMH teachers and nurses pointed out that DMH has moved unilaterally to cut costs with little thought to patient outcomes and overall safety. Committee members asked the Department some tough questions regarding their plan to layoff teachers and commented on the poor communication between management and their employees.

Nurses working to maintain care levels at state hospitals

dmh_petition_actio_web.jpgLocal 1000 members at the Department of Mental Health (DMH) delivered nearly 1,000 signatures to Kathy Gaither, DMH Chief Deputy Director, demanding improved collaboration and communication as the department makes program and staff reductions.

"I'm highly concerned at the way DMH has kept its staff at arms-length throughout this process," said Kim Cowart, registered nurse and chair of Bargaining Unit 17. "DMH wants to make changes and slash the budget, but they won't be successful without the input of staff."

DMH wants to save $180 million in this budget year. In addition to the program and staff reductions, the department is making sweeping changes to its administration of care in state hospitals as it moves to create a new department.

Escaped Patton State Hospital inmate captured (The Sun)

escape_web.jpgJohn King has lived down the street from Patton State Hospital, a forensic facility for patients who have been committed by the judicial system for treatment, since 1994.

The 44-year-old Highland resident said he hasn't had a reason to worry or fear - until Tuesday morning when a patient scaled a perimeter fence lined with barbed wire and escaped from the facility.

"I have not been worried about security before," King said. "But now I am."

King was outside doing yard work early Tuesday and decided about9:30 a.m. to go inside for a break. At the same time, the patient ran up Mercedes Avenue, which runs perpendicular to the hospital's security fence.

Read entire article at >>

The past, present and future of California's mental-health system (News & Review)

steinberg_web.jpgState Senate Speaker Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg, author of Proposition 63; the Mental Health Services Act, talks about the future of mental health services in California with the publisher of the Sacramento News & Review.

Read full article at >>

Staff cuts planned at Napa State Hospital (Napa Valley Register)

napa_hospital_web.jpgby Keran Todorov

The California Department of Mental Health has notified dozens of Napa State Hospital employees they may be laid off later this year, according to union representatives.

In all, 39 positions are slated for elimination, according to the department which, according to the labor unions, has sent early-warning layoff notices to psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists.   

"It's dangerous," recreational therapist Zach Hatton, chief steward from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2620, said of the proposed staff reductions. "We barely have the people as it is."

These are the first significant staff reductions in his 12 years at Napa State Hospital, said Hatton, who met with union members at lunch on Wednesday to assess the situation.

Read entire article at >>

DMH Layoffs: Take action now

cal_dmh.jpgTake the survey and email your legislator now!

The Department of Mental Health (DMH) is moving quickly to cut millions from their budget through staff and program reductions at the state hospitals. These reductions will impact you, your coworkers and the patients you care for. Local 1000 is conducting a survey to reveal DMH's lack of communication and attention to staff and patient safety through the transition.

Your input in this survey is critical in mitigating the impact during the creation of the new Department of State Hospitals. Your concerns and recommendations for a successful transition will be presented to the administration at DMH as well as the state Legislature.

Help fight back against these costly layoffs by taking the survey now.

As a constituent and an employee at DMH, you have the power to influence your legislators by asking them to take action. Let them know that your workplace is in trouble and you fear for the future, should these layoffs continue.

Click here and email your legislator now

DMH: What you should know about SROAs

layoff_faqs_graphic.jpgCuts resulting from the state's 2011-2012 budget are now beginning to take shape, and Local 1000 is working to protect state worker's rights as downsizing and realignment begin impacting our members.

Every department facing cuts must submit a reduction plan to the Department of Personnel Administration (DPA) that follows the guidelines of the Local 1000 contract and state law.

Local 1000 has assembled a task force that is closely monitoring every department impacted by changes in the budget. The task force ensures the plan is followed and the state meets with our member negotiators to mitigate any changes affecting Local 1000-represented employees.

Surplus letters - also known as State Restriction of Appointment (SROA) notices - don't go out to state employees until DPA approves each department's reduction plan. To date, employees in two departments - the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have received notices. Local 1000 is monitoring another dozen departments where changes may be felt.

What to do if you receive an SROA letter

Read the FAQ section below to inform yourself of the procedure governing the reduction process and how it applies to you.

If you have issues that are not answered by these FAQ, please call the Local 1000 Member Resource Center at 866-471-SEIU (7348).