When Maria Montanaro took the reins of the state department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, she inherited an agency with massive responsibilities, and major challenges. Among them, mounting costs and allegations of abuse at Eleanor Slater Hospital – the state psychiatric and long-term care facility for people with serious illnesses.
For instance: Montanaro says some nurses earn double their salaries because of the amount of overtime they're allowed to work. And outdated facilities can't accommodate the number of patients who might present a security risk, meaning patients involved with the judicial system are co-mingled with psychiatric and medical patients - a situation she deems unsafe. But there's a plan in the works to replace most of the hospital's senior management, as well as to address inadequate facilities.
Montanaro joined us this week on “The Pulse” to talk about the problems and the turnaround plan for Eleanor Slater.Rhode Island's director of the department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, Maria Montanaro, speaks with Rhode Island Public Radio's Kristin Gourlay about the latest in the investigation of alleged abuse at Eleanor Slater Hospital, plans to replace and restructure most of the management at that hospital, out-of-control spending on overtime, and insufficient facilities.