Nev. Facility That Bused Patients to California Will Retain Accreditation
A psychiatric hospital in Nevada that bused patients with mental illnesses to California and other states will retain its accreditation at least temporarily, according to Nevada officials, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (Amaro, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/5).
Background on Rawson-Neal's Practices
According to a Sacramento Bee review of bus receipts kept by the Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, the number of patients with mental illnesses sent by Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas to other cities via Greyhound bus increased by 66% from 2009 to 2012.
The Bee found that Rawson-Neal has sent more than 1,500 patients to other cities since July 2008.
According to the review, about one-third of such individuals traveled to California, including:
- 200 who arrived in Los Angeles County;
- 70 who arrived in San Diego County; and
- 19 who arrived in Sacramento.
In April, the Joint Commission -- an independent, not-for-profit firm that accredits hospitals -- launched an investigation of the hospital. CMS also has launched multiple investigations of Rawson-Neal's patient discharge practices. In addition, San Francisco has launched a formal inquiry into the matter, while Los Angeles is pursuing a criminal investigation of the hospital.
In response to the investigations, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (D) said that state officials have implemented a new policy that requires two physicians instead of one and a hospital administrator to approve a discharge order for a patient. In addition, a chaperone must accompany any patient with a mental illness discharged from state facilities and sent to locations outside of Nevada, hospital officials said.
Nevada officials also said that two employees at Rawson-Neal have been fired and another three were disciplined following an internal investigation that found 10 cases in which patients might have been placed on buses without family or treatment contacts at their destination (California Healthline, 5/24).
Details of Accreditation
In addition to the Joint Commission's investigation of Rawson-Neal's discharge practices, the firm also conducted a routine survey that takes place every three years.
On Thursday, Tracey Green -- Nevada's chief medical officer -- said that the results of the routine survey would allow the psychiatric hospital to maintain its accreditation at least temporarily. However, she said that the Joint Commission will revisit the hospital within 60 days to decide whether to reaccredit the facility.Green said that results of the survey show that the hospital is "moving in the right direction," adding, "We have made a lot of improvement" following criticisms of the facility's discharge practices (Resse, Sacramento Bee, 6/7). 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.