Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How many things can a hospital do wrong before losing funding?

Life safety volations, a patient death, inhumane patient restraints... and taxpayer money still flows

A May 3, 2016, Patriot Ledger article by reporter Chris Burrell describes events surrounding psychiatric facility Pembroke Hospital:

“State health inspectors made six surprise visits to the 120-bed psychiatric facility in Pembroke during a 5-week period in March and April and flagged violations related to understaffing, simultaneously restraining and isolating a patient and unclear criteria for evaluating a patient’s risk for aggressive behavior.”

The surprise visits occurred, perhaps, once a week? State Health inspectors knew about these violations for months on end, yet allowed this facility to remain open, and accept and treat patients?

The state uncovered “urgent patient care and life safety violations,” Chris Burrell writes of the Arbour-owned Pembroke Hospital along with four other Arbour-owned facilities: Quincy (18 beds), Westwood (136 beds) and Jamaica Plain (136 beds).

I wonder what is meant by “life safety violations” - is it about the patients, the staff, or both?

State inspectors also cited the hospital for violating regulations on restraining patients: “The physician ordered mechanical restraint and locked door seclusion to be done simultaneously,” adding that both methods cannot be combined.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pembroke Hospital CEO: No Use for Panic Buttons

CEO Opines they are Prone to Technical Problems and False Alarms

Another article on Pembroke Hospital has been in the paper written by Patriot Ledger reporter Chris Burrell. 

One of the many complaints by state agencies investigating this facility is that there were no mechanisms carried by staff to summon help; no phones equipped with panic buttons or any other device to alert someone when assistance is needed.

The Ledger describes how OSHA “has armed some of the staff with walkie-talkies to call for help in a violent situation or a medical emergency.”

I might add that, from my personal observations, Pembroke Hospital lacks the security - trained or not – to provide that assistance.

So I ask: The staff is now armed with walkie-talkies, but to what end? Who could they possibly be alerting?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Return to Sender

A leading advocacy group for the mentally ill declined to accept a $10,000 donation from Arbour Health System

Arbour Health System, the parent organization of embattled Pembroke Hospital, recently donated $10,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Massachusetts (NAMI) for its annual fundraising walk to be held May 14, 2016.

However, as reported by Chris Burrell in the Patriot Ledger, the Alliance returned the donation “after reading media reports about patient care and safety violations found by state regulators there and at other Arbour-owned facilities.”

NAMI Executive Director Laurie Martinelli stated in a 4/15/16 blog entry:
In light of recent events and media reports regarding Arbour Health System facilities, NAMI Mass decided to return Arbour’s 2016 Walk corporate sponsorship donation

Ms. Martinelli returned the check.


Ms. Martinelli clearly wants to make a difference for the mentally illness of Massachusetts. Money isn’t the answer when it is donated by an organization that can’t take care of their own patients.

Thank You Ms. Martinelli, for your integrity and steadfast mission to improving the quality of life for those with mental illness and their families.

Sheila Wilson, RN BSN MPH
President stophealthcareviolence

Patriot Ledger
The Boston Globe

Monday, May 2, 2016

Can Massachusetts Be the 34th State?

Why Massachusetts Must Pass Legislation Making Assault on Healthcare Workers a Felony

With Lobby Day approaching, as President and co-founder of Stop Healthcare Violence I was invited to describe why I filed what became House Bill #1164; legislation that would increase penalties for assault on healthcare workers from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Initially, I thought – gosh, it’s a no-brainer. 

Assaults on healthcare workers has become a crisis of epidemic proportions – and one that is figuratively and literally screaming for more rigorous anti-assault laws.

And it is not simply a handful of individuals believing this to be true; 33 states have recognized the need for tougher laws, and have passed felony legislation.

However, it then occurred to me that some may not see the issue as so crystal clear. So please allow me to explain the critical need for this felony legislation.