Mass. hospital breaks with mental health contractor after discharged patient kills 2

Following a string of attacks from a discharged patient, Taunton, Mass.-based Morton Hospital Thursday cut ties with the third-party contractor that performs its Medicaid mental health evaluations in the emergency department.

A statement from the hospital issued Thursday alleged the contractor was not performing mental health evaluations in a timely way, "and when Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor," the statement reads. "This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk."

The hospital faces a state investigation into its procedures after Arthur J. DaRosa, 28, stabbed two people to death and injured five others on Tuesday evening, hours after he was discharged from the Morton ED. However, Morton Hospital did not mention the attacks in its announcement to ban the contractor, the Norton Emergency Services AKA Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services.

However, a previous statement from the hospital regarding the attacks stated the following: "If the state contracted agency responsible for conducting evaluations in the Emergency Department had requested an admission to a psychiatric bed, there were beds available within the hospital's network." This statement suggests the hospital faults the contractor for not flagging Mr. DaRosa as a patient who needed longer monitoring.

The hospital said its own licensed and credentialed staff members will provide evaluation services, effective immediately.


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