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Admissions suspended at Brookline psychiatric hospital

Lane Turner/Globe Staff

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State regulators have prohibited a Brookline psychiatric hospital from admitting any patients, citing an immediate risk to patient safety and deteriorating conditions.

Health officials took the unusual action Thursday against Arbour-HRI, part of a chain of mental health hospitals and clinics that has been repeatedly cited in Massachusetts and other states for understaffing and poor training of workers.

Inspectors made a surprise visit to Arbour-HRI in October, after receiving a report about a female patient being forcibly searched, an incident that state Mental Health Commissioner Marcia Fowler described in an interview Monday as “a very serious human rights violation.” The inspectors identified a range of problems, including dirty conditions and untrained or inexperienced staff, she said.

As an initial step, the Department of Mental Health slightly lowered the number of patients that the 66-bed hospital was allowed to treat at a given time. But, when Arbour-HRI did not properly address the problems regulators had identified, the state halted admissions altogether.

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