Friday, July 26, 2013

Consequences (Are Here.)

It's back! In case you were wondering whatever happened to the patient dumping scandal, Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital is back in the news. Why? Oh, the scandal plagued hospital finally earned its long awaited federal demerit.

 State officials say they won't appeal an accrediting agency's low marks of a Las Vegas psychiatric hospital, saying they'd rather wait for the organization to take a fresh look at the much-scrutinized hospital.

Nevada health and human services chief Mike Willden says he's disappointed by the Joint Commission's decision last week to give Rawson-Neal a "preliminary denial of accreditation." The mark can be appealed, but indicates problems that would lead to loss of accreditation.

The designation was based on a May inspection that found the hospital out of compliance with standards including ones dealing with patient discharge procedures.

At least for now, the hospital will remain open and continue receiving federal Medicaid dollars. However, the hospital's future relationship with the feds will be in doubt without accreditation. And this may only be the beginning.

"It's a very big deal," said Troy Lair, CEO and president of The Compliance Doctor, a Los Angeles-based firm that consults with health organizations across the country on accreditation.

Private insurance companies generally will not pay for patient care in a hospital that is not accredited, Lair said. "They will not be able to see any type of private insurance patient," he said.

In a best case scenario, Lair said, it generally takes a hospital up to a year to regain accreditation. Many hospitals that lose accreditation end up closing. [...]

The hospital remains the subject of several outside probes. The city attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco are investigating whether Rawson-Neal has been systematically dumping patients across state lines for years. Last month, Sacramento civil rights lawyer Mark Merin filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status against Nevada and Rawson-Neal, contending the busing policy violated patients' constitutional rights.

Ouch. This is a big f**king deal. So why aren't we seeing more state "leaders" treat it as such?

Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Denial) had to be shamed into even acknowledging the woes of Rawson-Neal. And he, along with quite a few others in Carson City, continues to ignore the consequences of failure to keep in place Nevada's social safety net.

We're now just beginning to pay the price. I just wonder what it will take for this state to fully change course. Can we truly afford more of the same?

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