Saturday, July 25, 2015

Timberlawn mental hospital cut off from federal funding over safety issues

From a much long report in the Dallas News

Federal regulators are taking the rare step of kicking one of North Texas’ largest psychiatric hospitals out of the Medicare and Medicaid programs for leaving patients in “immediate jeopardy” of injury or death.


Timberlawn flunked a make-or-break inspection, a final chance to prove it could fix an array of problems after promising improvements for months.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services found that unlicensed personnel were monitoring patients and some patients were going more than 12 hours without seeing a nurse. Electrical cords and other unsafe objects remained in rooms within reach of suicidal patients.

“These practices posed an immediate jeopardy to the health and safety of patients,” inspectors said in a report.

The state said it is moving quickly to evaluate its enforcement options.

“The issues have been egregious and incredibly disheartening. We are absolutely looking at the full range of penalties, including license revocation,” said Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. “Our inspectors have been in and out of the facility since February, citing issues and not seeing progress. It’s turned into a critical situation.”
Much more information at the link, which includes hand wringing over what they will do when a dangerous and unsafe facility is shut down.

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