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July 25, 2014

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Feds: Rawson-Neal will lose funding if it fails inspection

The trouble-plagued Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will lose federal funds this fall if it fails another inspection by the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid.

Jack Cheevers, spokesman for the federal agency, said Wednesday that the agency would conduct a survey before Nov. 6 to ensure that promised improvements have been made.

“If the hospital is found to be in compliance with Medicare rules to protect patient health and safety, the termination (of Medicare money) will be vacated,” he said.

The hospital has been criticized for sending patients to their out-of-state homes without adequate treatment plans, and for lacking adequate staff.

The state Board of Examiners last week approved adding $267,084 to a contract with Family First Medical LLC to provide more coverage by doctors at the hospital. The additional funding, which raises the total contract from $1,240,000 to $1,507,084, will allow for an increase from 100 to 156 hours per week for physical evaluations of patients. That change is designed to bring Rawson-Neal in line with standards of the federal government and the Commission on Joint Accreditation.

Hospital officials are scheduled to go before the Legislative Interim Finance Committee Thursday to ask for $3 million in emergency funds to expand the number of beds at the former mental hospital in Las Vegas and alleviate strain on Rawson-Neal. The 2013 Legislature approved spending $2 million at the Stein Hospital for more beds, but the state wants to add more facilities for patients.

There has been criticism that patients are stacked up in emergency wards at Las Vegas hospitals waiting for mental treatment.

However, the work at Stein won’t be completed until late 2014 or early 2015. And Rawson-Neal will then ask the 2015 Legislature for more staff for that hospital.

In an Aug. 16 letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, Chelsea Szklany, administrator of the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health System, said action has been taken to correct the deficiencies.

“Our employees are linking the individuals we serve to support services for medical, behavioral and social needs, making the appointments, coordinating with family/caregivers and verifying follow through and documenting these activities in the medical records,” she said.

The hospital was cited for giving out-of-state patients a one-way bus ticket to other states without providing them with plans to seek further treatment.

In addition to the threat of loss of Medicare money to reimburse the state for the treatment of patients, suits have been filed against Rawson-Neal citing inadequate care for patients. The Commission of Joint Accreditation has pulled its certification that the hospital meets treatment standards.

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