Napa State Hospital’s new wireless security system continues to experience glitches, forcing the delay of its additional deployment, according to the hospital.
On Wednesday, Napa State Hospital Executive Director Dolly Matteucci said the campus-wide deployment of the wireless system has been delayed until Sept. 26 to “fully resolve all issues before launching campus-wide.”
The initial installment was launched on Aug. 14 in the high-security treatment area” area where criminally insane patients are housed.
It was scheduled to be expanded to the rest of the Napa State campus on Sept. 5, according to a memorandum.
“We have made this decision to provide adequate time for successful utilization within the (secured treatment area), prior to further expansion to ensure safety for employees and patients,” Matteucci said.
“As with any new technology system, it is common to experience technical issues such as we have, and this is why we are implementing the system in phases, with constant monitoring and testing to ensure the safest outcome for staff,” she wrote.
“We are addressing some minor glitches that still exist but do not affect general functionality which will be corrected. Our priority is to ensure that the alarm system provides the safest environment for employees and patients,” she said.
Calls for better security at the hospital were renewed after psychiatric technician Donna Gross was strangled in October 2010 by a patient in the secured treatment area.
Hospital officials proposed a $4.6 million wireless system to cover the entire 400-acre campus.
The Service Employees International Union, the labor organization that represents nurses, nurses aides and other Napa State employees, has filed a grievance regarding the security system, according to the labor union and the Department of State Hospitals.
Two weeks ago, hospital officials agreed to allow employees to wear the new personal security alarm on carabiner belt clips instead of on lanyards around their necks.
This followed a protest by employee representatives who said a psychiatric technician was injured when a patient assaulted him from behind, pulling on his lanyard and choking him. State officials said the lanyard broke as designed from the pressure.
On Aug. 17, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health — Cal/OSHA — opened an investigation at Napa State Hospital in response to the reported incident, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations.