by Max Brantley
The state Human Services Department announced late this afternoon that the State Hospital, which treats the mentally ill, is in compliance for reimbursement in the Medicare program. The hospital would be all but impossible to operate without federal money. It has been cited repeatedly over the years for lapses in patient care, supervision, recordkeeping and other areas. A recent inspection turned up some continuing deficiences, but the state said they'd be corrected quickly.
The state news release follows:
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notified the Arkansas State Hospital on Friday that it is now in substantial compliance with conditions for participation in the Medicare program and has successfully met the terms of its Systems Improvement Agreement.
“We felt that we have made significant progress over the last year, and meeting the conditions of participation clearly validates that,” said Department of Human Services Deputy Director Janie Huddleston, who helped oversee the changes at the facility. “We still have improvements to make, but we now have a leadership team and staff that are committed to moving the hospital forward.”
DHS signed the Systems Improvement Agreement in September 2011, promising to improve the State Hospital. Nearly a dozen CMS surveyors were at the facility three weeks ago monitoring the progress made to-date by conducting an intensive review of policies, procedures and patient and employee records. Though CMS found the State Hospital in compliance, surveyors did documents some deficiencies, including with patient treatment plans and documentation.
The State Hospital will submit its plan of correction for those deficiencies within 10 days, said Steven Henson, Chief Executive Officer of the State Hospital, adding that some of the issues already have been corrected.
After receiving notification Friday afternoon, Henson said he was proud of the State Hospital employees for all the work that they did to comply with CMS regulations.
“This is not the same hospital it was a year ago,” Henson said. “But we aren’t satisfied with where we are, and it will be an even better hospital a year from now.”