Tour Reveals Problems at State Hospital

(KHNL) - A close up look reveals just how much help is needed to fix Hawaii's only State Hospital.  Along with two state senators KHNL News 8 was allowed to tour the mental health facility in Kaneohe.

Just two weeks after a State Hospital nurse revealed she was brutally beaten by a patient, Senators Clayton Hee and Jill Tokuda toured the Hawaii State Hospital.  Hee listened as hospital staff talked about their working conditions, a shortage of nurses and an abundance of patients.

Senator Hee found out the hospital is well over capacity with 200 patients squeezed into a facility built for fewer people.  "I personally feel that the system is broken from different facets", the Senator said.

Hee and fellow Senator Tokuda asked for the tour after learning about safety concerns.  People who work at the state facility say they are stretched to the limit.  They revealed everything from classrooms turned into patient rooms, to dilapidated transport vans that are constantly being jerry-rigged.

State Hospital Administrator Mark Fridovich admits there are issues with little resources to fix them.  "That being said we are focused on treatment, good care and evidence based treatment to maintain a safe environment for the staff, the public and other patients."

With an abundance of patients, safety issues and a staff shortage, those who work at the hospital hope this very public tour will help put the State Hospital on the road to recovery.

Senator Hee says he plans to clarify some of the statements made on the tour, including issues surrounding staff pay, and a cut in positions.  Senator Hee will be meeting with the U.S. Attorney's office and the Department of Justice.