Federal Money Could be Restored to the Vermont State Hospital as Soon as November

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: September 1, 2004

Contact: Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – State health officials have been notified that federal funding could be restored to the Vermont State Hospital by November 24, 2004.

The federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) notified the state in a letter received September 1 that the hospital’s plan for correcting paperwork deficiencies found in a recent CMS inspection has been accepted, and that federal funding could be restored within 90 days from August 24, 2004.

During the 90-day “period of assurance” for the hospital, CMS inspectors will make at least one more unannounced visit to be sure the planned corrections are in place. If no further problems are found, the hospital will be readmitted to the Medicare program.

“We will not let up with our efforts to improve the state hospital,” said Dr. Susan Wehry, deputy commissioner of health for mental health services. “We will make sure every detail is correct when they check back. I’m optimistic that we have turned things around at the hospital, and that federal officials will continue to be satisfied.”

A major improvement initiative was launched this past July following a CMS inspection that found the state hospital to be out of compliance with their conditions of participation for psychiatric hospitals. A follow-up inspection later that month found no major deficiencies, but one significant recordkeeping problem which has since been fixed, health officials said.