Monday, July 20, 2009

Hospital Deaths

Gov. Beverly Perdue has signed into law a bill designed to release more information about deaths at state mental hospitals. The bill, sought by Perdue and Attorney General Roy Cooper, describes the information that must be released when a patient dies at a mental hospital or a facility for substance abusers and the developmentally disabled. The bill requires that the name, gender and birth date of the deceased be released, when and where the death happened and the circumstances. Death details about patients who had left the hospital up to two weeks earlier also must be disclosed. Perdue said the measure will increase government transparency.(THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/17/09).

**Editor Note** This is a critical intervention in the system. This will allow a greater understanding of what is "happening on the ground." It is the view of NASW-NC that we know more about what is happening in the hospitals. Staff is overworked. Consumers are angry. The system cannot make change until the veil of secrecy is lifted.

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