Pennsylvania hospital cited for closing psychiatric unit

Norristown, Pa.-based Suburban Community Hospital was cited for suspending its psychiatric services for seniors without notifying the state, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Jan. 4.

When inspectors came to the hospital in October, they found the 15-bed unit empty, no staff on duty and learned the psychiatrist had resigned. Administrators told inspectors the last patient had been discharged more than two weeks earlier.

State law requires hospitals to notify the state within 24 hours of any disruption to services that could compromise patient safety. Inspectors cited the hospital for failing to provide appropriate resources for the unit, failing to formulate plans to develop the unit and failing to notify the state when services were suspended.

Hospital administrators said they were "currently, actively" recruiting a new psychiatrist for the unit. The hospital is expected to update the health department on its plans for the unit by Jan. 18, according to the inspection report.

"Geriatric psychiatry services at Suburban Community Hospital are not closing," Michelle Aliprantis, a spokesperson for Prime, told the Inquirer. "These changes will not adversely impact patient care."

Becker's has reached out for comment and will update this story if more information becomes available. 

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