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Review of state-run psychiatric hospital blames leadership

June 30, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A review of the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services released Wednesday lays blame for problems at the facility squarely on the shoulders of hospital leadership.

“Current leadership team has lost the trust and confidence of staff, community, stakeholders and the General Assembly,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones wrote in the review requested by Gov. Daniel McKee.

Her agency has oversight of the last-resort hospital that treats residents with long-term medical and psychiatric needs at campuses in Cranston and Burrillville.

It has come under fire over a downsizing plan that critics say has led to the discharge of patients with few or no care alternatives.

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The hospital has faced a string of resignations among physicians, including some who said they were unethically pressured to discharge patients in order to save money. A nurse’s union in April gave a vote of no confidence in the hospital’s leadership.

Just this week, the chief financial officer was placed on paid leave and the chief medical officer resigned.

The hospital was also under fire for poor record keeping.

Jones said she met resistance from some in hospital leadership during her review.

She made about 70 recommendations, including reevaluating the leadership structure based upon a model that is patient-centric, and reassessing job titles and salaries of the leadership team to align with scale and scope of work.

She also suggested creating a multidisciplinary team for admissions and discharges.

McKee said he would use the review to create “an action plan to improve the hospital’s facilities to ensure patient safety and quality of life and to unify the leadership team to establish a workplace of professionalism and respect among all staff.”

Several other reviews of the hospital are underway, including one by the state attorney general’s office to determine whether anything criminal has taken place.