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Press Releases

Statement by HHC in Response to Esmin Green Family Settlement Agreement

May 27, 2009

HHC President Alan D. Aviles said, “Today’s settlement is a result of a legal process and negotiation that we entered into with a full apology and acceptance of HHC’s responsibility for the events leading up to the tragic death of Ms. Green. It is not meant to put a value on a life and the loss of a loved one. That remains priceless. The indelible memory of this tragedy will spur us to fulfill our promise to create a national model of patient-centered mental health services at Kings County Hospital.”
Dr. Joseph Merlino, Director, Kings County Hospital Behavioral Health Center, said, “We at Kings County Hospital and in particular all of us in the Department of Behavioral Health are committed to doing everything in our ability to see that Esmin Green’s death was not in vain. The memory of Ms. Green and the lessons learned from her tragic death guide us everyday in our service to our patients, their families, and the community of Central Brooklyn.”

Contact: Ian Michaels (HHC)(212) 788-3339.


Recent reforms to improve quality of care for mental health patients at King County Hospital (KCHC) included:

  • Further relief of overcrowding and the expansion of therapeutic activity space with completion of the 300,000 square foot Behavioral Health Center Pavilion, which houses the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP), the 230 inpatient beds and the outpatient services that were spread out over seven separate hospital buildings.
  • The addition of more than 200 doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and other staff.
    Better coordination with EMS and other components of the mental health system, adequate staffing ratios, more expeditious triage, assessment and treatment that have led to a dramatic reduction in overcrowding in the psychiatric emergency room. The average number of patients in the CPEP generally does not exceed 25 patients at any time, compared to as 50 or more before the changes. The average length of time patients stay in the CPEP – which includes triage, evaluation, treatment and disposition to next level of care — is down to less than 8 hours compared to an average of 27 hours one year ago.
  • A further reduction of overcrowding and capacity expansion with priority access to 24 crisis beds at Kingsborough Psychiatric Center (KPC), jointly staffed by Kings County and KPC.
  • Reduced reliance on hospital police to manage patients in crisis with deployment of new, non uniformed and specially trained personnel who have clinical, crisis intervention and security skills.