CHARTER BEHAVIORAL: Santa Clara Hospital Closes Doors
Under threat of losing federal and state funding because of charges that it "improperly treated disturbed patients," Charter Behavioral Health Systems of San Jose, Santa Clara County's only mental health treatment center for adolescents and children, closed last Friday, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The 80-bed facility had received a letter from HCFA in October, warning that "the government would terminate its participation in the federal Medicare program on Monday because of 'deficiencies so serious that they substantially limit your capacity to give adequate care.'" Government inspectors also complained that Charter utilized "packaged treatment plans" that did not consider the needs of individual patients. When the hospital failed a survey in October, the government moved to suspend its license. Bobbi Passavanti, spokesperson for the Georgia-based Charter Behavioral Health Systems, said, "A lot of variables came into play, there was not one single element." In the meantime, Charter is attempting to place 48 full-time workers in other Charter hospitals and Santa Clara County is seeking formal contracts with Fremont Hospital in Fremont, Mills-Peninsula Hospital in San Mateo and St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. Allan Rawland, director of county mental health, said, "In some sense, we see this as an opportunity to explore other options for appropriate levels of care" (Pope, 11/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.