LINCOLN, Neb. — A patient has been found after walking away from a Lincoln psychiatric hospital, according to Department of Health and Human Services officials.
The man left the grounds of the Lincoln Regional Center around 4 p.m. Saturday by jumping a security fence during designated outdoor time, said Kathie Osterman, department spokeswoman.
Police received a call from a family member after the man arrived at their home, according to Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood. The man was located and returned to the hospital by 9 p.m. without incident.
State employee union director Mike Marvin said he was concerned that other hospital employees and the public hadn’t been notified about the escape. He said people should have been aware, particularly if the patient had a history of violence.
Republican state Sen. Colby Coash, who lives close to the hospital, also said he believes the public should have known about the escape.
“My son plays right next to the park by the regional center,” he said. “It’s disturbing to me the public is not made aware.”
Osterman said information about specific patients isn’t released because of federal patient privacy requirements. Those requirements and state laws allow law enforcement to know minimal information for identification and location purposes.
A Nebraska Patrol spokesperson said that wasn’t necessary in the incident because investigators had tips as to where the patient would likely be located.
Coash said he disagrees.
“If somebody who is court-ordered to be somewhere escapes, I think the community has the right to know,” he said.
The director of the psychiatric hospital said Monday that the center will now consistently notify other employees of any escapes or unusual occurrences as a result of the incident.