Arizona increases independent oversight at state-run psychiatric hospital

Dec 13, 2023, 4:05 AM

The Arizona State Hospital will have more independent oversight for its state-run psychiatric hospi...

The Arizona State Hospital will have more independent oversight for its state-run psychiatric hospital by adding members to its board. (Google Maps Screenshot)

(Google Maps Screenshot)

PHOENIX — Arizona has announced more independent oversight for its state-run psychiatric hospital by adding members to its board.

The Arizona State Hospital’s governing body was capped at 11 voting members but has been increased to 20 after it unanimously voted to expand bylaws in November.

Fifteen of the 20 members will be independent and unaffiliated, a ratio ASH CEO Mike Sheldon believes will ensure more governing from Arizonans at the hospital located at 24th and Van Buren streets.

“Our first and foremost priority is ensuring that ASH is a great place for people to get world-class treatment in a safe and caring environment,” Sheldon said in a press release.

“We’re opening the doors and asking mental health advocates, independent clinical experts, peer and family members, and former patients at the state Hospital to join us in making decisions, thought partnership and governance.”

Who has joined AHS’ governing body?

AHS’ governing body has seen seven new additions in the past month.

They are:

  • Kathy Bashor, family/peer-driven behavioral health system care advocate.
  • Kristina Sabetta, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
  • Eddie Sissons, mental health advocate.
  • Lauren Goldstein, mental health advocate.
  • Kimberly Craig, CEO and president of the Center for Health and Recovery.
  • George Galliher III, scientist and peer advocate.
  • Steven Scott, behavioral health care operations expert.

The five affiliated positions are allocated to the Arizona Department of Health Services director, ASH’s chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief medical officer and a medical staff member who serves as an ASH employee spokesperson.

Those positions won’t be adjusted moving forward, according to the release.

“I am committed to transparency and accountability,” Gov. Katie Hobbs said in the release. “With these new appointments, I’m confident that we are taking important steps to promote the safety of patients and staff at ASH while increasing independent oversight.”

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Arizona increases independent oversight at state-run psychiatric hospital