SANTA ANA, Calif.
— A nursing home in Southland, Calif., that treated two mentally ill residents of a nursing home is changing the way it treats the rest of its patients.
A judge on Monday found the hospital was not complying with state guidelines on the treatment of mentally ill people and ordered the hospital to pay a $2.8 million fine.
In August, the nursing home agreed to pay $2,700 to settle claims from two residents who had been housed at the facility for years, saying they were kept on the psychiatric ward, kept in isolation and subjected to other inappropriate behavior.
The nursing home also agreed to improve its mental health program, including the creation of a mental health nurse-in-training program, and provide 24-hour monitoring to residents who have a mental illness.
The hospital also agreed that it would hire a new nurse-outpatient coordinator and provide free behavioral health care.
The ruling on Monday came a day after the state Supreme Court upheld the state’s mental health laws.
The high court ruled that the state was not violating the rights of mentally handicapped patients by denying them the right to receive mental health services.
The ruling is the first legal challenge to the state mental health law, which is set to go into effect in January.
But the ruling was not without controversy, with the state attorney general, who is overseeing the case, defending his decision to seek a temporary restraining order against the nursing homes because of the way in which the state has implemented the law.
In a statement, John Aravosis, the attorney general’s chief counsel, said the hospital has taken steps to comply with the law, but the nursing facilities had not done so.
The attorney general also said he would continue to defend the state law.
“The court did not find that the hospital’s compliance with state law was sufficient to satisfy its burden of demonstrating that the nursing facility is in compliance with its obligations under the mental health act,” Aravissas statement said.