Federal Government Recertifies Vermont State Hospital

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: November 30, 2004

CONTACT: Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
863-7281

WATERBURY—The Vermont Department of Health announced today that federal officials have recertified the Vermont State Hospital and have restored federal Medicaid funding. State officials had been awaiting notice of recertification by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for several months after passing a critical inspection last summer.

“I’m pleased by this,” said Dr. Susan Wehry, deputy commissioner of health for mental health. “Many people have worked very hard to make this happen.”

“We are very grateful to the hospital leadership and staff, who really pulled together to restore good quality care under very challenging circumstances,” Health Commissioner Dr. Paul Jarris said.

“Recertification begins a new chapter in the care of Vermonters who are living with psychiatric illness,” Jarris said. “We cannot change the past, but we can redouble our efforts to provide our staff and our patients with the support they need going forward.”

“As commissioner, I accept accountability for the circumstances that resulted in the loss of certification,” Jarris said. “Dr. Wehry and I take this opportunity to extend our commitment -- to our patients, our hospital leadership and staff, to the mental health advocacy community, and to the people of Vermont – that continued improvement of Vermont State Hospital quality of care will remain a Department of Health priority.”

Wehry expressed appreciation for the role the mental health community has played in recent improvements at Vermont State Hospital.

“Many in the community have given their time and energies over the course of years to push for improvements,” Wehry said. “They never let up and they never gave up, and we owe them our thanks.”