08/27/08 — State officials are on site

View Archive

State officials are on site

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on August 27, 2008 1:52 PM

A team of about 10 state officials arrived at Cherry Hospital about noon Tuesday as the embattled psychiatric facility works to pull itself out of the jeopardy it has been under since Aug. 11.

The immediate jeopardy, which places the hospital in danger of losing its federal funding, was implemented by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid after an investigation into two incidents involving patient care.

In one, the investigation found that staff had failed to properly monitor a patient, Steven Sabock, for nourishment and had left him unattended in a chair for 22 hours.

In the other, the investigation found that staff had improperly calmed down and restrained an agitated patient.

Although he could not be reached for comment by presstime today, since receiving the letter, Cherry Director Dr. Jack St. Clair has said that he believes the hospital staff can correct the problems that led to the incidents by improving staff training and documentation procedures.

To those ends, a plan of corrective action has been submitted, said Tom Lawrence, director of public affairs for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

He explained that is what this most recent team, which is working on behalf of the federal center, is taking a look at.

"They're attempting to get a complete survey done and look at what we're doing about the immediate jeopardy situation ... and how that corrective action plan is being handled," he said.

The goal, he added, is to have a report complete by Monday to restore the federal funding.

He also said they are "looking into two (other) complaints," but would not elaborate as to what those might be.