Federal regulators issued an “immediate jeopardy” notice at Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital after a patient was given the wrong medication.
Days before a deadline for Washington state’s largest psychiatric hospital to fix safety problems, federal regulators issued an “immediate jeopardy” notice saying the facility failed to protect patients from harm.
Inspectors with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the notice Thursday after saying a patient at Western State Hospital was given the wrong medication. The notice reflects a crisis situation in which the health and safety of people at the hospital are at risk. Hospital CEO Ron Adler notified staff about the situation in an email acquired by The Associated Press on Friday.
The 800-bed facility received multiple warnings from federal regulators in 2015, including six immediate jeopardy notices in November. It has until Tuesday to fix those problems or face losing millions of dollars in federal funds.
Inspectors were at the facility this week to ensure changes were made after pervious violations were found. They interviewed staff, inspected documents related to the use of seclusion and restraints, and checked on the hospital’s infection-control systems, among other probes, according to notices sent to staff through the week.
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On Thursday, the survey team issued the jeopardy notice, Adler said in the email.
“The hospital failed to ensure that staff members followed hospital policy, procedures and standards of practice for patient identification prior to medication administration and procedures,” the notice said. “This posed a serious risk of harm to patients.”
Julie Bannester, spokeswoman for CMS, said the agency has no comment on the notice at this time because the survey is in progress.
In a statement, Carla Reyes, assistant secretary for the Department of Social and Health Services, Behavioral Health Administration, which runs the hospital, thanked the staff for reporting the incident. She said the hospital administers 9,500 doses of medication each day, but on Wednesday, a patient was given the wrong drugs.
“We continue to make improvements in all areas of patient care and safety,” Reyes said. “Hospital staff are evaluating root causes for this situation and working together to identify solutions that will result in safer patients and improved quality of care.”
The hospital’s safety policy requires nurses to confirm that the patient is correctly identified using at least two methods that could include a photo ID, asking the patient to identify himself and provide a date of birth, or have another staff member confirm the patient’s name, according to Adler’s note. The nurse must also ensure they’re giving the right drug in the right dose.
Both houses of the Legislature have added funds for mental health and the psychiatric hospital in the upcoming budget, but some lawmakers have lost confidence in the way Western State Hospital is being run.