State outlines improvements at psychiatric hospital

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas will outline the state’s plan to improve services at the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury on Wednesday.

A review this winter by the federal Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services found a number of serious problems that could jeopardize future federal funding at the facility. The state has moved to correct these problems and the results of a second inspection will be released Wednesday.

Douglas says the state has hired more nurses to work at the State Hospital, and he’s hopeful the new inspection review will reflect the state’s efforts to improve services:

(Douglas) “I think we’re going to continue to make progress, whether it’s fast enough to satisfy the federal reviewers from the Medicare and Medicaid Services Center remains to be seen. But I really believe that we’re moving in the right direction.”

(Host) The initial inspection also found that some patients had been inappropriately locked in their rooms, while others had not received proper treatment. Douglas says these are complicated issues to deal with:

(Douglas) “It’s difficult in some cases to force people to accept treatment when they are being held there against their will. So it’s a real challenge but that’s what we need to deal with and we will.”

(Host) On Monday the chief executive officer of the State Hospital, Doctor Bert Francke, stepped down from his post. Administration officials say the resignation is connected to the facility’s poor performance on this winter’s federal inspection.

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