San Antonio State Hospital stops admitting mental patients

Blaming a nursing staff shortage, the San Antonio State Hospital (SASH), which treats poor and uninsured psychiatric patients who pose a danger to themselves or others, has issued a hold on admitting new patients, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The hold, which could last until February and only includes adult patients, has some worried that many of the very mentally ill patients who used to be treated at SASH will wind up in emergency rooms in hospitals around the San Antonio region. The nurse shortage has left staff scrambling to "cover shifts by pulling nurses from other areas and possibly using temp nurses," Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, told the Express-News. Some say SASH is unable to compete with salaries offered elsewhere; others blame the lack of mental health funding in Texas and the requirement that a certain number of beds be reserved for "forensic" patients, or mentally ill inmates who need to be evaluated and treated. Article