Joint Commission launches unannounced review of troubled Rhode Island hospital

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The Joint Commission showed up June 14 without advance warning to launch its survey of Cranston, R.I.-based Eleanor Slater Hospital, reports WPRI.

"The objectives of the survey are not only to evaluate the organization, but to provide education and 'good practice' guidance that will help staff continually improve the organization's performance," Joint Commission spokesperson Maureen Lyons wrote in a June 14 email to WPRI.

Accreditation is a key requirement to receive CMS funding. Prior to 2019, CMS was granting Eleanor Slater tens of millions of dollars each year, but halted amid compliance concerns, reports WPRI.

The Joint Commission typically conducts reviews every three years. During its most recent 2017 review of Eleanor Slater, the commission threatened to revoke the hospital's accreditation, citing life and safety problems.

The Joint Commission's arrival comes as the state-run hospital faces intensifying public scrutiny. Most recently, The National Association of Government Employees, which represents nurses at the facility, issued a no-confidence vote targeting several hospital executives. Earlier this year, the United Nurses and Allied Professionals also issued a no-confidence vote directed at four top Eleanor Slater leaders. In May, an inspection by the state fire marshal found the hospital out of compliance with 112 life and safety code violations. The embattled hospital is also the focus of an investigation by the state attorney general's office.

"The Joint Commission arrived today for a routine unannounced review of Eleanor Slater Hospital," Randal Edgar, public information officer with the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals — which oversees Eleanor Slater — told Becker's June 14. "This visit had been expected last fall but was delayed because of the COVID pandemic. It is our understanding that the review will be complete by Friday. We are deeply committed to providing safe, high-quality care at Eleanor Slater Hospital." 

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