Fed­eral reg­u­la­tors: Psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal harm­ing pa­tients

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

SEAT­TLE: Fed­eral reg­u­la­tors plan to cut mil­lions in Medi­care and Med­i­caid fund­ing for Wash­ing­ton state’s largest psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal af­ter a re­cent in­spec­tion found “multi-sys­tem wide fail­ures” have caused se­ri­ous harm to pa­tients and placed the health and safety of all pa­tients at risk. In ad­di­tion, fed­eral of­fi­cials said Western State Hos­pi­tal’s gov­ern­ing body “failed to pro­vide over­sight and su­per­vi­sion nec­es­sary to en­sure pa­tients are pro­tected from abuse and ne­glect and re­ceived safe and ap­pro­pri­ate psy­chi­atric, med­i­cal and nurs­ing ser­vices,” ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent this week to hos­pi­tal CEO Ron Alder and ac­quired by The As­so­ci­ated Press on Fri­day.

The US Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices said it will end its provider agree­ment with the 842-bed fa­cil­ity on Nov. 28, the let­ter said. The Lake­wood, Wash­ing­ton fa­cil­ity re­ceives $4.7 mil­lion from Med­i­caid and $11.2 mil­lion from Medi­care an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to state of­fi­cials. State of­fi­cials said they plan to fix the prob­lems be­fore the two-week dead­line.

“We have been un­der the threat of los­ing fed­eral fund­ing since the in­spec­tion in Septem­ber,” Kathy Spears, spokes­woman for the state Depart­ment of So­cial and Health Ser­vices, said in an email Fri­day. The agency is work­ing with the fed­eral Cen­ters for Medi­care & Med­i­caid Ser­vices to cor­rect the prob­lems, she said. “Pa­tient and staff safety re­main pri­or­i­ties and to that end we are work­ing to re­cruit more staff, which is key to im­prov­ing safety and pro­vid­ing qual­ity ser­vices to the pa­tients at all of our state psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals,” she said. “We have not lost fed­eral fund­ing.”

‘Im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy’

Stephanie Mag­ill, a Cen­ters for Medi­care & Med­i­caid Ser­vices spokes­woman in Seat­tle, said Fri­day that al­though ter­mi­na­tions some­times hap­pen, “more of­ten than not, fa­cil­i­ties come back into com­pli­ance.” The let­ter marks the fourth time in 2015 that the hos­pi­tal has been un­der threat of los­ing fed­eral funds. The fed­eral agency sent 90-day ter­mi­na­tion no­tices to the hos­pi­tal in Jan­uary, March and Septem­ber af­ter find­ing that pa­tients were at risk. This is the first let­ter that threat­ens fund­ing cuts within weeks of the an­nounce­ment. The de­ci­sion fol­lowed an in­spec­tion that ended on Nov. 5 in which in­ves­ti­ga­tors iden­ti­fied sev­eral “im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy” find­ings. “Im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy” is de­fined by law as a sit­u­a­tion in which the hos­pi­tal’s fail­ure to com­ply with pro­gram re­quire­ments “has caused, or is likely to cause, se­ri­ous in­jury, harm, im­pair­ment, or death to a res­i­dent.” The in­frac­tions re­lated to pa­tient rights, qual­ity as­sess­ment, med­i­cal staff, nurs­ing ser­vices and in­fec­tion con­trol, the let­ter said. — AP

WASH­ING­TON: Dr Joseph Wainer, left, a psy­chi­a­trist at Western State Hos­pi­tal, and Paul Vilja, right, a nurs­ing su­per­vi­sor, pose for a photo near the fa­cil­ity in Lake­wood. — AP

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