CEO of Rhode Island psychiatric hospital resigns

The CEO of Eleanor Slater Hospital, a state-run state acute care and psychiatric hospital with campuses in Cranston, R.I., and Burrillville, R.I., has resigned without public explanation, according to the Providence Journal.

Cynthia "Cindy" Huether submitted her letter of resignation May 12 and will stay at the hospital for six weeks to help ensure a smooth transition, Randal Edgar, spokesperson for the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, confirmed to Becker's.

Kathryn Power, acting director of the department, notified staff of the resignation via email.

"Cynthia joined our department ... at a time of transition," Ms. Power wrote. "She began the task of building a hospital leadership team which focused on quality care, collaboration and responsiveness. She and her team have supported some of Rhode Island's most vulnerable residents. We offer her our sincerest thanks for her public service to the state of Rhode Island." 

"On behalf of BHDDH, I want to extend our best wishes to Cindy in her future endeavors," she added.

Ms. Huether did not respond to an inquiry from the Journal about her resignation. 

Ms. Huether joined the department in January 2017. During her tenure, she has hired a new executive leadership team; overseen the renovation of a former adolescent training school into a modern adult psychiatric/forensic unit; restored Joint Commission accreditation after it was challenged in late 2017; and dealt with a unprecedented increase in the number of forensic patients, among other efforts, said Mr. Edgar.

He said the department continues with other state and federal agencies "to address billing concerns related to the balance of medical and psychiatric patients at the hospital."

"Under what is known as the 'IMD exclusion,' the hospital must have more medical patients than psychiatric in order to bill Medicaid and Medicare for services," he said. "Maintaining this mix has become increasingly difficult as the courts, in what mirrors a national trend, send greater numbers of forensic patients to the hospital for evaluation."

This story was updated at 11:47 a.m. CDT on May 14. 

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