Dallas Earnshaw, director of the Utah State Hospital, sits for a portrait in his office in the administrative building on the hospital's grounds in Provo on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Utah State Hospital cuts treatment wait times to 23 days

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah State Hospital is on track to cut down wait times for people to undergo mental health treatment before they can stand trial.

The Deseret News reports hospital superintendent Dallas Earnshaw told lawmakers the wait averaged 23 days in September, down from 40 in July. That’s despite an 80 percent increase in the number of people referred to the hospital over the last five years.

The progress comes after a 2015 settlement with the Disability Law Center, which argued defendants were sitting in jail cells for months awaiting treatment.

Earnshaw says the steps they’ve taken include moving some people out of the hospital and into jails or communities for treatment.

The hospital will still need more than $2 million to make a March deadline for a 14-day wait time.