Beleaguered Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital issued preliminary denial of accreditation

An independent organization that accredits hospitals has issued a preliminary denial of accreditation to Nevada’s Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital.

Officials from the Joint Commission, the organization that accredits hospitals, last visited Rawson-Neal on July 2. Preliminary denial of accreditation allows the hospital an opportunity to appeal the decision before a final decision on accreditation is made, said Elizabeth Eaken Zhani, spokeswoman for the Chicago-based Joint Commission, on Tuesday night. She was unable to provide additional information because she was out of the office. The decision was posted on the commission’s website late Monday.

“They are still accredited,” she said. “They have not lost their accreditation.”

Early last month, state officials said that the hospital was able to keep its accreditation but that officials from the Joint Commission were going to conduct an unannounced follow-up inspection within 45 days to ensure the hospital was complying with its plans to improve medical staff oversight and staff documentation.

A definition of preliminary denial of accreditation on the commission’s website says the decision “results when there is justification to deny accreditation to a health care organization due to one or more of the following: an immediate threat to health or safety for patients or the public; failure to resolve the requirements of an Accreditation with Follow-up Survey status after two opportunities to do so; failure to resolve the requirements of a Contingent Accreditation status; or significant noncompliance with Joint Commission standards. This decision is subject to review and appeal before the determination to deny accreditation.”

Rawson-Neal came under scrutiny in February for discharging James F. Brown, 48, to Sacramento, Calif., with no support or family waiting for him.

The hospital was investigated by several agencies, including the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Joint Commission.

A plan of correction submitted by Rawson-Neal was accepted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but another investigation by the federal agency is still pending.

Reached on her cellphone Tuesday night, Dr. Tracey Green, the state’s chief medical officer, said she was not prepared to comment. Officials have meetings planned today to discuss what the hospital will do, Green said.

The Joint Commission conducts full hospital accreditation surveys once every three years, according to state officials.

Commission officials found several standards at Rawson-Neal were out of compliance, according to an accreditation quality report updated Monday.

Late Tuesday, it was unclear whether those deficiencies were found during the follow-up inspection or whether the follow-up inspection has even taken place.

The hospital was found to be noncompliant with standards including informing and educating patients about follow-up care, treatment and services; ensuring staff are competent to perform their responsibilities; and maintaining accurate health information on patients.

A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas early last month by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and Sacramento, Calif.-based civil rights attorney Mark Merin.

Brown is the only listed plaintiff on what attorneys have called a civil rights lawsuit. They believe other plaintiffs will be added to the lawsuit, but as of Tuesday night, Brown was still the only one.