The state Department of Mental Health was fined $100,000 this week for security lapses in connection with the death of a psychiatric technician at Napa State Hospital in October.The fine was levied by the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health.The Department of Mental Health has 15 days to notify Cal-OSHA whether it will appeal the fine.Donna Gross, 54, of Concord, was strangled and robbed in an enclosed courtyard at the Napa hospital on Oct. 23.
She was returning from a meal break between shifts and was alone, on foot, in an area where there were unsupervised people in a non-structured environment, according to the Cal-OSHA report.Her body was found outside her unit and it was determined she was fatally assaulted, “presumably by an unsupervised individual on the highest level grounds pass”, according to the Cal-OSHA report.
Hospital patient Jess Willard Massey, 37, has been charged with her murder. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 2.The California Department of Mental Health was fined Tuesday for a “willful” failure to correct a known, serious hazard and for “serious” failures to adequately communicate a known, serious hazard; identify hazards posed by a new, assaultive population; establish procedures for sounding an alarm on the grounds; and provide adequate warning to allow for escape in an emergency.
The Department of Mental Health also was fined for violating four general regulatory activities.Unions representing Napa State Hospital employees have staged protests about the lack of safety and police presence at the hospital since Gross’ death and two subsequent assaults by patients on two other staff members.
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