Letter: Psychiatric patients deserve better rights

Improving psychiatric patient rights translates to improve quality of care. That is the reason House Bill 214 should be re-introduced next January.

Alaska’s 58-year history of slow-walking psychiatric patient rights has brought us to the current patient grievance procedure. Private hospitals treating psychiatric patients and their certification organizations write the patient grievance rules, due process for appeals begins on the “second Tuesday of next week,” and an appeal process “maybe.” Each hospital’s psychiatric unit writes its own patient grievance rules.

Alaska will eventually set the grievance, due process and appeal process rules for all psychiatric patients. We would rather it be sooner rather than later.

— Faith Myers and Dorrance Collins, 

mental health advocates