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State Hospital administrators to testify on workplace safety

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:17 p.m. HST, Jul 14, 2014

Three state hospital administrators will testify before a state Senate investigative committee on Wednesday in connection with allegations pertaining to workplace safety and administrative misconduct.

Adult Mental Health Administrator Mark Fridovich, acting Hawaii State Hospital Administrator William Elliott and state Health Director Linda Rosen were subpoenaed to testify at an 11 a.m. hearing at the state Capitol.

Since March, a series of hearings have investigated concerns ranging from training and management issues to reports of patient assaults on staff members.

The committee, which has subpoena power, has been holding briefings to hear from witnesses to discern whether supervisors have knowingly put hospital workers at risk of being assaulted by patients, which happens at a rate of about once every three days, according to the Department of Health.

In a news release issued on Monday, Sen. Josh Green (D, Milolii-Waimea), co-chairman of the Senate Special Investigative Committee on the state hospital, said, "The hearings we hold attempts to give us insight into what exactly is happening at the State Hospital so that we can begin to address and solve those issues with open and transparent governance."

Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Clayton Hee said in the release, "There are a growing number of concerns at the State Hospital."

Hee added: "As we learn more about the inner workings at the State Hospital, it's become clear that there are many issues that need addressing. We need to hold workers accountable for improper actions, but also equip them with tools necessary to do their jobs."

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