Connecticut psychiatric hospital to transition forensic unit following abuse allegations

Middletown-based Connecticut Valley Hospital's forensic division will become a separate entity under an executive order signed by Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The executive order, signed Tuesday, creates Whiting Forensic Hospital by spinning off the Whiting Forensic Division from CVH, a psychiatric hospital.

According to the governor's office, the new 229-bed forensic hospital will be created by consolidating Whiting Maximum Security beds with beds at the Dutcher Enhanced Security building.

The new forensic hospital will be operated by the state's department of mental health and addiction services. Michael Norko, MD, will continue to lead the new forensic hospital while a search takes place for a permanent CEO.

"Having these two facilities as distinct entities governed by their own policies, procedures and staff will ensure that we can focus more directly on the changes needed to continue to improve the quality of care at Whiting," Mr. Malloy said in a statement.

Mr. Malloy's decision comes after 10 mental health workers at CVH's Whiting Forensic Division were arrested in 2017 for allegedly kicking, jabbing, taunting and throwing liquids at a 62-year-old patient. Nearly 40 staff members were placed on paid administrative leave, according to The Connecticut Mirror.

Also last year, DMHAS voluntarily decertified the Whiting Forensic Division's 91 maximum security beds because the division failed to meet CMS standards for discharge planning, The Connecticut Mirror reports, citing the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research.

Mr. Malloy's executive order states that CMS requires "that a decertified division of a facility have operations that are independent of the operations of a CMS certified facility."

The state expects the full transition to be wrapped up by the end of this month.

Alia Paavola contributed to this report. 

 

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