State officials say staff vacancies have declined at West Virginia's state-run psychiatric hospitals following court-ordered pay raises.
Vacancies at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston dropped from 67 in January to 33 as of Dec. 15. Vacancies at Mildred Mitchell Bateman Hospital in Huntington declined from 19 to 17 during the same period.
Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom had ordered the pay raises in an ongoing case centering on the treatment of patients at the hospitals.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Department of Health and Human Resources officials gave Bloom an update on the hospitals during a hearing last week.
Bureau of Behavioral Health and Health Facilities commissioner Victoria Jones testified that the number of patients also has declined at each hospital.