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Originally published Oct. 17, 2012 at 3:12 p.m., updated Oct. 18, 2012 at 1:36 p.m.
LARNED A surveyor from The Joint Commission, a national accrediting agency, reported no problems after a follow-up inspection earlier this week at Larned State Hospital, according to state officials.
The official report from the inspection won't be shared with state officials until later, but a brief, four-sentence summary of the inspection stated that "there are no survey findings identified."
Officials with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which oversees the state's three mental hospitals, made the summary public on Wednesday.
“Larned State Hospital staff passed with flying colors. This is good news for the patients and staff at Larned State Hospital and for the people of Kansas," KDADS Secretary Shawn Sullivan said in a prepared statement. "The Joint Commission inspector said he was impressed with the policies implemented since last spring’s original survey. I want to congratulate our employees at LSH for their continuing commitment to improve patient care at the hospital. I am so proud of their efforts.”
The Joint Commission surveyor arrived at Larned State Hospital on Monday and spent two days following up on an inspection in March that turned up a number of problems, that apparently now have been settled to the commission's satisfaction.
The Joint Commission's policy is to not comment on inspection results.
"... we cannot release or confirm any information learned from an accredited organization before, during or following an accreditation survey, which is used to determine compliance with specific accreditation standards," commission spokesman Brett Coons wrote in an email to KHI News Service on Wednesday. "We can neither confirm nor deny the alleged statements made by a Joint Commission surveyor."
But on Thursday, Coons confirmed that Larned State Hospital’s "...accreditation decision has been updated to be 'accredited' and dated effected as of October 17, 2012." The finding, he wrote, meant the facility was "...in compliance with all standards at the time of the on-site survey..."
Among the earlier problems cited in a 37-page commission report were persistent staffing shortages, turnover rates that were described as "alarming" and related problems, including poor documentation and inadequate oversight of the medications given patients.
Several things happened since the earlier inspection. Among the changes: The hospital's superintendent resigned in May. The Legislature approved additional money for staffing and nurses were given pay raises. State officials also contracted with a private firm to provide doctors for the facility, which typically houses more than 450 mentally ill persons, including more than 200 who are confined in a special unit for sexual predators.
Also since the earlier inspection Janet Finger was hired as a full-time pharmacy director. Dr. Ralph Bharati was hired as medical director and Dr. Tom Kinlen was named acting superintendent.
In September, The Joint Commission gave its "Gold Seal of Approval" to Osawatomie State Hospital. The third state hospital, Rainbow Mental Health Facility in Kansas City, Kan., is closed for renovations and is scheduled to reopen early in 2014.
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.