NC Mental Hospitals Could Lose Federal Funding Due To Abuse

Posted on Feb 27, 2009

State psychiatric hospitals across North Carolina could lose federal funding this month after continuing reports of hospital neglect and abuse at multiple facilities. With many states including North Carolina already facing serious budget problems, this could be a critical blow for facilities like Central Regional Hospital and the Dorothea Dix Hospital. On the other hand, the health and safety of patients in the current conditions in both the Raleigh and Butner locations are also at risk, according to federal investigators.

Over their last five visits since May, federal inspectors have found mounting problems at both hospitals, including instances of medical malpractice, patient abuse, inappropriate use of restraints, and negligence. There have also been multiple cases of health care professionals not reporting abuse or neglect after they have witnessed it occurring.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services is working to stop such problems and save their funding - the two hospitals require $10 million to keep their doors open.

According to the Associated Press, the staff at the Butner Hospital have not prevented patient falls as they should. The only way to save their $1.2 million in federal funding next month is to convince federal regulators that they are working on the problems and that all issues will be addressed. Still, as the investigation continues, accusations continue to pile up, including evidence of staff-on-patient and patient-on-patient assaults.

A 45-page assessment covers a number of abuse and neglect instances at the two hospitals, most notably over 12 cases in which patients were seriously injured during falls.