I read the recent editorial by the Anchorage Daily News editorial board, “Another twist in the API saga.” A portion of the last paragraph should be repeated: “Alaska should prioritize efficiency (when caring for psychiatric patients), but not to a degree that patient care is compromised. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.”
The ADN’s editorial board’s opinion is close to the Alaska Supreme Court’s in “Myers v. API,” except the justices also added that psychiatric institutions not only operate for convenience, but also economics. And managers and doctors at psychiatric institutions should not be making sweeping decisions about medicating and treatment of psychiatric patients without oversight.
The Alaska Supreme Court decision focused on the issue of medicating patients. The decision left managers of psychiatric facilities still in control of much of the quality of patient care and patient rights.
Providers of psychiatric services operate in self-interest, convenience and economics. The Department of Health and Social Services is a provider. The Legislature should step up to the plate and take control of psychiatric patient rights and quality of care with new legislation to bring about reasonable oversight.
— Faith Myers
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