Mental hospital failed to report possible patient abuse

first_imgSEATTLE — Washington state’s largest mental hospital didn’t properly notify the state Department of Health about reports that a nursing assistant had inappropriate photos of a psychiatric patient on his personal phone, a spokeswoman said Monday.“We did fail to timely report an allegation of patient abuse by a former staff member to DOH,” Kathy Spears, spokeswoman for the Department of Social and Health Services, which runs Western State Hospital, told The Associated Press in an email.The alleged photo discovery was made on Oct. 3, but the hospital didn’t report the incident to police until Oct. 11 — and that was during a routine weekly meeting and not a special call or report.The hospital didn’t tell the Department of Health until Oct. 24.Hospital officials said the allegation was made by the nursing assistant’s fiancee, who said she had his phone containing the photographs. The hospital immediately re-assigned the employee to a position that would keep him from interacting with patients, Spears said. When a supervisor confronted the nursing assistant that same day, he immediately resigned, Spears said.The 800-bed hospital in Lakewood is already in trouble with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after safety violations were found. The hospital is under a strict 13- month agreement with the agency to make improvements or risk losing millions of federal dollars.last_img read more

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