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Feds Satisfied Emporia Hospital Has Addressed Concerns About Mental Health Patients

Newman Regional Health
Federal officials have determined that Newman Regional Health has addressed their concerns about policies for patients with mental health issues and will continue making Medicare payments to the hospital.

Newman Regional Health will continue to receive Medicare payments after federal officials determined staff at the Emporia hospital had addressed their concerns about policies for patients with mental health issues.

A news release from the hospital Tuesday announced the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined Newman had complied with its requirements. In March, CMS had raised the possibility of stopping Medicare payments after a psychiatric patient was discharged too soon in September 2015.

Newman CEO Robert Wright said in the release that he was proud of how the hospital’s employees had worked to address the CMS concerns.

“The issues surrounding the assessment, discharge and transfer of patients with mental health conditions have been successfully resolved and the great care we provide made even better as a result,” he said.

The September 2015 case involved a patient who sought care in Newman’s emergency department for chest pain and thoughts of suicide. The hospital held the patient overnight and then discharged the patient, with the understanding that a staff member from the Mental Health Center of East Central Kansas would take the patient to a psychiatric hospital. The unidentified psychiatric hospital didn’t have room for the patient, however.

The report didn’t specify any harm to the patient, but the discharge still ran afoul of federal rules because the patient wasn’t stabilized before being discharged. Patients can be transferred before they are stable if another facility could better care for them but can’t be discharged.

Megan Hart is a reporter for KHI News Service in Topeka, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team. You can reach her on Twitter @meganhartMC

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