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Why Rawson-Neal Psych Hospital Was Denied Accreditation


Jon Ralston, political commentator, Ralston Reports

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- The Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital will no longer be accredited by the national agency that typically assures that hospitals maintain quality standards in treatment of patients, discharging them and more mundane matters like prescriptions and hygiene. The Joint Commission denied accreditation even though the state says it had been assured that accreditation would be assured. But the commission says that the agency failed a second inspection.

According to political pundit Jon Ralston, the hospital administration thinks it’s pointless to appeal, since the Commission is making their decision based on an old evaluation, which would have taken into account past circumstances at the hospital.

And, says Ralston, “Some of the things they found at Rawson-Neal – it’s pretty extensive stuff. And it’s very very systematic across the board. It’s not going to be easy for them to get accreditation.”

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Violations mentioned in the report included threats to patient safety, lack of training or clear procedures, fire hazards, and, most notoriously, not releasing patients in the correct way. It was a series of articles on the busing of patients to locations where they had no ties, sometimes with only a baggie filled with medication, which brought attention to the hospital’s questionable practices.

In response to the hospital’s crisis, Gov. Brian Sandoval has requested that the state spend $4 million over the next two years to add to the hospital’s capacity.

Ralston says this move is political – “he has to look like he’s doing something.”

Politicians, he says, historically have given low priority to these types of issues.

“There’s no political damage for a legislator or governor for ignoring this kind of problem – it’s the fact that  nationally recognized commission has come in and said you are not up to standard, that has caused them to act this way,” says Ralston.

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