Arizona State Hospital Taking Steps To Correct Serious Deficiencies

Published: Friday, July 10, 2015 - 2:07pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 9:35am
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Following an investigation by a federal agency, the Arizona State Hospital is taking steps to correct dozens of highly critical deficiencies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had threated to revoke the hospital’s Medicare provider agreement unless the Arizona Department of Health submitted a plan of correction. 

The Arizona State Hospital has been in the news for the past several months after a media investigation found the hospital failed to keep patients safe and engaged in misconduct. At least six top hospital and department of health officials were replaced. Now steps are being taken by new leadership to correct those serious deficiencies.

Dr. Cara Christ is the director of the Department of Health.

"We’ve changed our policy on rounding and close monitor; we’ve added people, we’ve added cameras, we’ve bought new radios," Christ said. "We’ve increased the number of staffing that are on our mall."

That outdoor mall area was also mentioned in the report. The report said, “Patients were on mall, no visual check was done. No radio confirmation was done.”

Staffing, however, was just one of many issues. A patient who was supposed to be monitored had sex with another patient in exchange for a soda. A nurse failed to provide wound care and then there was the issue of staff being afraid to come forward.

"Obviously, we want to have a culture of transparency and bringing things forward," Christ said. "Because Dr. Bowen, who’s the new CEO, and I believe that if you don’t know about problems, you can’t fix them."

The Department of Health submitted its plan of correction late last month. After CMS approves its proposed measures, they’ll return to the hospital to see if those changes have been put in place. 

"Our families and our patients are our primary concern," Dr. Christ said. "So very specific steps have been taken to ensure specific examples in the report don’t occur again."

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