Feds Deny Certification For State Hospital

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(Host) Federal regulators have refused again to recertify the Vermont State Hospital.

A team that visited the state’s psychiatric hospital earlier this month found that it did not have an acceptable system for reporting, documenting and addressing problems and other issues.

The team also found a handful of problems with the facility itself, including an improperly installed sink, automatic door closer and ventilation system.

Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman says he’s disappointed but understands the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services want to make sure patients are protected.

(Hartman) "We do recognize and CMS I think has been abundantly clear … that we are being held to a higher standard than a typical hospital might be in terms of following CMS rules. They are absolutely wanting complete clarity that we have really addressed the core issues that led to a breakdown in care here to a level that people died."

(Host) The state hospital lost its federal certification in 2003 and only regained it for a short time a year later.

Hartman says the federal government has told the state it can reapply for certification if it works with a special consultant.

Certification would mean almost $10 million in financial assistance to the state.

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