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Vegas psych hospital docked by accrediting agency

Posted: July 24, 2013 11:47 a.m.
Updated: July 24, 2013 11:47 a.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas mental health agency that came under scrutiny amid allegations that discharged patients were improperly bused out of state has received a demerit from an independent accrediting organization.

Officials from the Joint Commission said they voted earlier this month to give a "preliminary denial of accreditation" to Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services' hospital program, which includes Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital, based on findings from a visit in May.

The designation means inspectors identified problems in hospital services that could result in a loss of accreditation, but the agency has an opportunity to appeal the decision.

"They are still accredited," Joint Commission spokeswoman Elizabeth Eaken Zhani told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "They have not lost their accreditation."

This week on its website, the Joint Commission posted a list of standards that were out of compliance, including educating patients about follow-up care upon discharge and documenting patient discharge information. The list was based on a full site visit and review in May, Zhani said, although Joint Commission officials have visited as recently as July 2.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday, and it was unclear whether the issues listed have already been addressed. State officials have conducted internal reviews on their mental health programs, invited outside experts to review the system, and changed policies in recent months.

Rawson-Neal has been taking heat since The Sacramento Bee first published the story of James Brown, who had been discharged from the hospital to a Greyhound Bus in February and ended up disoriented in Sacramento, Calif., where he had no support system.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against six state agencies on Brown's behalf, claiming state officials were negligent and shirked their fiduciary duty.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



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