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Napa State Hospital Picketers

Employees picketed at Napa State Hospital in June to support passage of a bill that would create special treatment units for high-risk patients. The governor signed the bill this week. 

J.L. Sousa/Register

Hoping to pressure legislators and the governor to improve safety conditions, a small group of Napa State Hospital employees rallied during the lunch hour Monday.

“Less talk, more action, safety now,” read one of the signs directed at motorists on Highway 221, by the hospital’s main entrance.

Unions representing psychiatric technicians, nurses, social workers and others are pushing for passage of Assembly Bill 1340, which would create special treatment units in each of the five state psychiatric hospitals for violent patients.

According to the unions, there were 3,149 aggressive acts against hospital workers and 3,914 aggressive acts against patients in 2012.

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Picketers noted that a patient was strangled at Atascadero State Hospital on May 28. Since May 28 at Napa State, there was a sexual assault on a psych tech, a battery on a psychologist, a beating of a social worker that left her with a fractured nose and two teeth kicked out, and an assault on a patient who had to be medevaced to UCSF Medical Center with head injuries.

Linda Monahan, president of the Napa chapter of the California Association of Psychiatric Tehnicians, said in a news release that “some of our patients’ mental illnesses make them predatory or sociopathic. Those few patients are responsible for the majority of the violence we endure.”

A.B. 1340, authored by Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, would create enhanced treatment programs for patients with the greatest propensity for violence, removing them from the general population.

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