Safety Violations Found After Attacks at Iowa Psych Hospital

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Regulators have found serious safety violations at a state-run psychiatric hospital in Iowa where several combative patients have assaulted employees.

An inspection found that employees at the Independence Mental Health Institute struggle to manage violent outbursts due to inadequate emergency plans, low staffing, poor communication and ineffective safety shields that staffers haven’t been trained to use.

The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation in June after a series of attacks against staff members. A union representing employees said the hospital faced an urgent safety crisis.

Inspectors found seven serious and three minor safety violations. They proposed a $72,770 fine against the Iowa Department of Human Services, which operates the facility, and ordered it to fix the problems.

The hospital treats patients with severe and complex psychiatric needs.

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