Monday, July 20, 2015

Arizona State Hospital's Plan of Correction approved by regulatory agency

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PHOENIX - Following swift reform, the Arizona State Hospital has received federal approval to move forward with its Plan of Correction to increase its quality management, hire additional care providers and promote positive interaction between staff and patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services completed an inspection of the hospital in May 2015. The inspection report outlined what it called "serious deficiencies" in hospital operations. Following that report, the Department of Health Services submitted a comprehensive Plan of Correction to CMS which was approved last week.

"It is clear we needed an improved quality plan for the hospital," said Dr. Christ. "Our first priority is patient care and I will not tolerate anything less than a safe and therapeutic environment for our patients."

On May 13, 2015, Governor Douglas Ducey appointed Dr. Cara Christ as director to the Arizona Department of Health Services which oversees the hospital. Dr. Christ took swift action to begin the critical updates needed at the hospital. She named Dr. Aaron Bowen CEO of the hospital and established new leadership in the hospital's medical, nursing and quality officer positions last month.

"Dr. Bowen has made incredible improvements in the short time he's been at the hospital," said Dr. Christ. "There have been immediate enhancements in the areas of patient rights and quality assurance. All of this positive action helps our patients receive quality care in a secure environment."

The Plan of Correction to improve patient care at the hospital includes:
  • renewed roles and expectations of the hospital's governing body,
  • finalization of a Quality Management Plan to guide quality assurance practices and performance measures for staff,
  • the redesign of a tracking tool for grievance and appeals that automatically calculates and tracks due dates as specified in the hospital's policy,
  • increased staffing on the mall to ensure safety for patients and staff,
  • a revised policy and trained staff to ensure seclusion and restraint use is in accordance with each patient's plan of care,
  • the appropriate RN nursing supervision and coverage on each unit is in place as well as the availability of an registered nurse to direct patient care at all times,
  • training on close observation to nursing supervisors, staff and mental health program specialists to ensure patients on close observation are monitored appropriately.
"This is a new hospital," said Dr. Christ. "The team working to care for our patients is truly committed to behavioral health. They work hard to recover patients and get them back to their lives outside of the hospital and they care for those who are sentenced by a judge to an extended stay."

As the hospital continues to make great improvements in patient care, job openings are posted for registered nurses and security personnel. To review these opportunities, please visit and search for Arizona State Hospital.

The Arizona State Hospital is a publicly owned and operated hospital providing psychiatric and medical care.  Located on a 93-acre campus at 24th Street and Van Buren, the state hospital operates programs within a 260-funded bed facility. Authorized by A.R.S. § 36-201 through 36-207, the state hospital is required to provide inpatient care and treatment to patients with mental disorders, personality disorders or emotional conditions. The mission of the clinical members of the hospital staff is to provide safe and effective psychiatric and medical care to those who suffer from serious psychiatric, neurological, and medical illnesses.