DHS News Release - State psychiatric hospital makes critical turnaround

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June 28, 2018

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Christopher Sprung

State psychiatric hospital makes critical turnaround

Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center returns to full federal compliance

After two recent unannounced inspections by federal regulators, Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center has returned to full compliance with federal rules for hospital operations and patient care.

The state-operated psychiatric hospital in Anoka treats patients with complex mental illnesses and behavioral health conditions. The 110-bed facility serves the entire state.

Improvements focused on patient rights, nursing services, treatment planning, quality assurance and performance improvement. Implementation involved changing a wide variety of policies and practices.

“The entire team at Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center has worked hard to bring about this crucial turnaround for patients, their families and the staff,” said Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “We’ve been focused on changing the way we do things. In a very challenging environment, we are on the right track.”

Three separate investigations in 2015 found the Anoka hospital out of compliance with one or more federal regulations related to patient care and hospital operations. To correct the deficiencies and avoid losing federal funding, the facility and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services entered into a systems improvement agreement to bring the hospital into compliance.

After determining that the hospital successfully completed the systems improvement agreement, CMS will drop an earlier decision that would have blocked the hospital from billing Medicare and Medicaid.

The Anoka hospital worked closely with two outside consultants approved by the federal regulators. One consultant helped develop a detailed plan of correction, and the other helped implement the plan.

The Minnesota Hospital Association served as one of the consultants. As a nationally recognized leader in helping hospitals improve patient care and safety, the Hospital Association analyzed processes and systems at the Anoka facility and made recommendations for the corrective action plan.

“We were pleased to partner with DHS and Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center to ensure patient safety and improve the delivery of consistent, high-quality care in service of patients,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, chief medical officer of the Minnesota Hospital Association. “These improvements will result in a stronger continuum of mental health services, which will benefit patients, families and communities across Minnesota.”

The Department of Human Services has been working to increase patient capacity at Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center and to attract and retain employees at the facility and six Community Behavioral Health Hospitals, which together make up Minnesota’s system for patients with the most severe mental health issues. Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature provided increased funding in both 2015 and 2016.

Last year, the Anoka hospital received $2.3 million for building projects to improve patient safety and has spent an additional $1.3 million to eliminate physical features that patients could use to hang themselves. New federal regulations require all hospitals to eliminate these so-called ligature points.

During the recent 2018 legislative session, lawmakers approved $6.55 million to pay for extensive roof and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning repairs at the hospital. However, they did not provide an additional $5.79 million that Gov. Mark Dayton requested to remodel vacant space into a specialized admissions and crisis unit to evaluate new patients at the hospital.

A separate admissions space would allow clinical staff to observe new patients for a sufficient period of time before determining which of the hospital’s six patient care units is most appropriate for their conditions, rather than just admitting them to any unit with an open bed. “It’s better for individual patients and better for the safe management of the total patient population,” Commissioner Piper said. “Adding an admissions-crisis unit at the hospital will continue to be a top priority for us.”