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Rhode Island seeks to relicense part of psychiatric hospital

November 24, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island will apply to relicense a portion of the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital in part to make it easier to comply with Medicaid billing rules that apply to facilities that treat psychiatric patients.

Gov. Dan McKee said Tuesday that the decision to relicense the hospital’s Benton building in Cranston as a separate psychiatric hospital was made partially to end a dispute over the hospital’s finances, The Providence Journal reported.

The hospital serves patients with complex psychiatric and medical needs and also psychiatric patients ordered there by judges instead of being sent to prison or jail.

McKee said the 52-bed Benton building that the state wants to relicense “will continue to operate as a secure facility, serving patients who are involved in the criminal justice system, while Eleanor Slater will continue to serve patients with longer-term medical and psychiatric conditions.”

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Federal law prohibits Medicaid from reimbursing hospitals where more than half of the patients are primarily receiving psychiatric treatment.

The state agency that oversees the hospital will file paperwork for the relicensing with the Rhode Island Department of Health in January, the newspaper reported.

The hospital has faced multiple issues in recent years. A June report by the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals found the hospital’s leadership had “ lost the trust and confidence ” of staff and state leaders. At least two patients caused themselves serious injury in the past months.