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Second Review Shows More Problems At Arizona Facility
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 4, 2005

PHOENIX, ARIZONA--Federal reviewers who conducted follow-up visits to Arizona State Hospital last fall found a number of problems regarding the health and safety of the 260 people with mental illnesses housed there, the Arizona Republic reported Friday.

In fact, the investigators found far more serious problems than they did during a visit done in May.

Among other things, the reviewers with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that hospital officials failed to do their own investigations into the deaths of three residents and the escapes of several residents.

In one incident, a hospital doctor improperly inserted a breathing tube through the mouth of a 43-year-old man and into his stomach instead of his lungs. Even though the man soon died, hospital officials neglected to fully investigate the cause of his death.

They also failed to look into the death of a 33-year-old man whose body was discovered in a nearby canal. When asked about this, facility officials told reviewers they did not know they were supposed to investigate "off campus" deaths.

The findings mean that the state could lose up to $28 million in federal money used to offset the costs of running the facility and other Arizona hospitals.

Officials said they have made a number of changes since the federal review. They will now investigate deaths and escapes, for example, and will report their findings in a more prompt manner. They will also make sure staff actually see patients when they count them as being present.

Related:
"State Hospital troubles grow" (Arizona Republic)

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0204mentalhospital04.html

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