CMS to end reimbursement to Montana State Hospital over patient safety concerns

CMS will no longer reimburse the Montana State Hospital after failing to meet Medicare's basic health and safety standards, the agency said in an April 8 letter

The decision comes after the investigators found noncompliance issues at the psychiatric hospital and placed the facility on "immediate jeopardy" status. Four patient deaths were attributed to the deficiencies. Three deaths were related to a COVID-19 outbreak the hospital failed to contain and one was tied to a series of preventable falls.

In March, a patient was taken by helicopter to a hospital after being attacked by another patient in one of the facility's intake units, the Independent Record reported. 

CMS initially gave the hospital until March 13 to correct the issues, and the hospital gave assurances it would meet those conditions, the Independent Record reported. An extension was granted, though no date was assigned regarding the hospital's compliance, according to the report. 

There were 142 patients in the main hospital as of April 4, though it was not clear how many were insured by Medicare and Medicaid, the Independent Record reported. 

"It took many years for (Montana State Hospital) to get to this point, and it’s going to take significant time to truly fix the problem," a state health department spokesperson told the news outlet. "(Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services) continues to reevaluate Montana’s behavioral health system and ensure MSH is operating in a more productive, safe, efficient and effective manner.”


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