State finds Prime Healthcare hospital staff delayed reporting patients' abuse claims

A state investigation of North Vista Hospital, a 177-bed facility in Las Vegas, found staff failed to assess, document and report injuries of suspected abuse and did not regularly check on patients, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Here are four things to know:

1. State health officials began investigating the hospital in June after employees filed two complaints alleging a different employee "choked, kicked, punched, slammed" and cursed at psychiatric patients, the report states. The complaint also stated hospital supervisors closed the doors to trap patients inside with an unidentified abusive employee.

2. The hospital, which is owned and operated by Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare, faced scrutiny earlier this year after multiple reports of patients being harmed at the hospital or dying after being discharged.

3. A Nevada Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal North Vista Hospital will not face fines or closure because the deficiencies were minor. However, hospital officials must submit a correction plan, and state officials will conduct additional follow-up visits to the institution.

4. In its correction plan, North Vista Hospital said they plan to conduct "timely assessments" of patients' injuries and report suspected abuse within 24 hours, according to the report.

5. In an Aug. 10 statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Vincenzo Variale, CEO of North Vista Hospital said: "The Las Vegas Review-Journal continues to misrepresent and distort recent allegations made against the staff of North Vista Hospital. Except for minor paperwork and reporting infractions, the allegations were found to be baseless following an investigation by the state Department of Health and Human Services. But the headline and lead of the story of August 9 would likely convince readers to believe otherwise."

"Instead of focusing on the outcome of the investigation, the Review-Journal chose to focus repeatedly on the very allegations that the state had dismissed. Buried deep in the story was a comment from the Health and Human Services spokeswoman, who noted that North Vista would not face any fines or closure because 'the deficiencies were minor.' Yet the newspaper continues to pass the allegations off as serious. Distorting the truth does a great disservice to the hard-working staff at North Vista and the thousands of mental health patients that find relief and care at our hospital each year," he added.

To access the full report, click here.

Editor's note: This article was updated at 2:06 p.m. Aug. 10 to include additional information from North Vista Hospital.

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