Effort to better protect psychiatric patients in Texas - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Effort to better protect psychiatric patients in Texas

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Texas - The Disability Rights of Texas released a report indicating state officials have missed red flags that would have better protected several mental hospital patients across the state and instead, have placed them at risk for neglect and abuse.

After two decades of this oversight, Disability Rights is now hoping changes will be made to legislation and polices.

One allegation claims the Department of State Health Services, which oversees the state's 10 psychiatric hospitals, allegedly hired and then failed to adequately supervise five physicians with histories of sexually inappropriate behavior.

Another claim says the agency allegedly dismissed numerous reports of child sexual abuse levied against a former psychiatrist and failed to act even when multiple allegations began coming in.

State Health Services spokeswoman Carrie Williams says the report doesn't seem current and does not acknowledge fixes that have been made to the system over the past year.

The agency has reportedly made more than a dozen changes to improve patient safety; such as installing more than 500 surveillance cameras at 9 of the 10 state hospitals. 

They are also working closely with Family and Protective Services to start tracking abuse and neglect to identify patterns.