Justice Dept investigates civil rights violations at State Hospital

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The Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury is facing another federal investigation. The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into possible violations of patients’ civil rights. State officials say they do not know the nature of the investigation.

The hospital, which houses 40 to 50 mentally ill patients, lost its certification and Medicaid and Medicare funding last year after a series of inspections uncovered deficiencies at the facility. Those deficiencies were compounded by two patient suicides over a six-week period late last summer. Human Services Secretary Charles Smith says the hospital has taken major steps to correct past problems.

Justice Department officials plan to meet with state officials early next week.

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