Disability Law Center Calls for CHANGE at Bridgewater State Hospital

In the January 2022 Report, DLC’s sweeping recommendations include the following:

  • DOC must immediately remediate mold and assess for other environmental toxins existing in the BSH physical plant per expert recommendations and industry standards.
  • The Commonwealth must commit to closing [BSH] and constructing a modern facility designed to provide psychiatric evaluations and treatment in a safe, therapeutic environment.
  • The Commonwealth must immediately place BSH, as well as the planning, construction, and oversight of the new facility, under the authority of DMH.
  • DOC and Wellpath BSH must provide regular health screenings for symptoms of mold and environmental toxin exposure to all PS and staff, provided by a contracted health professional with expertise in the area.
  • Wellpath and DOC must immediately cease imposition of chemical restraint, including so-called Emergency Treatment Orders, physical restraint, and seclusion in circumstances that do not meet the narrowly tailored requirements of G.L. c. 123, § 21.
  • The Commonwealth must demand that DOC and Wellpath accurately document and report all uses of chemical restraint, physical restraint, and seclusion in keeping with applicable law and engage DMH or another external party to conduct an investigation into BSH practices.
  • DOC and Wellpath must adopt process that allows PS to submit written requests for evaluation and treatment of medical issues that a member of medical staff will review and respond to promptly.
  • Wellpath must permanently close the former Intensive Treatment Unit and never allow another PS to experience the trauma of isolation in that space, whether for quarantine, seclusion, or any other justification.
  • The Commonwealth, through the State Office of Pharmacy Services or otherwise, should implement standardized formularies for BSH and county correctional facilities or, at the least, require that special consideration be given to nonformulary mental health medication requests from individuals who have transitioned from the BSH to a correctional facility.
  • DMH resources should be committed to further DMH engagement with all county correctional facilities regarding mental health treatment, including promoting best practices, and to ensure that PS transitioned to county correctional facilities can access appropriate mental health services and supports while incarcerated and promptly upon their release.

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