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State Vows to Address Staff Shortages at Mental Facilities

There are more than 1,800 vacant staff positions at state mental health facilities in California. State officials have submitted a plan they hope will help improve the situation. KPBS reporter Kenny G

State Vows to Address Staff Shortages at Mental Facilities

There are more than 1,800 vacant staff positions at state mental health facilities in California. State officials have submitted a plan they hope will help improve the situation. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The state is under a court order to come up with solutions to staff shortages at mental hospitals.

State officials say they plan to increase salaries, hire a headhunter, and offer a loan repayment program to entice new graduates to come into the system.

Kirsten Deichart is with the California Department of Mental Health. She admits staff shortages have forced hospitals to restrict admissions.

Deichart : It's true that we have had to limit it, and try to really prioritize who comes in as soon as there is an open bed in a state hospital. So some of the folks who need to get in are still waiting for an opening.

That's prompted some patient's attorneys to sue the state. Department officials say they're dedicated to resolving the staffing issue.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.