(Host) The state of Vermont has promised to improve patient care at the Vermont State Hospital as part of a settlement agreement filed today with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two years ago, the Justice Department’s civil rights division opened an investigation into claims that the hospital violated patient’s rights.
The investigation focused on whether the hospital adequately protected patients from harm, whether restraints and seclusion were used properly, and whether medical care was adequate.
The agreement outlines a series of steps the hospital must take to address those problems. Paul Blake is Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Division of Mental Health.
(Blake) “This is an agreement that we think is very fair and reasonable. It covers the next four years. And what will happen is that during those years the Department of Justice will bring two experts in every six months to review our progress and to write a report and to give that report back to the Department of Justice.”
(Host) Blake says the hospital has made many improvements over the last two years.
It’s added over 50 staff members, and invested over a million dollars into the facility. The hospital also signed a multi-year contract with Fletcher Allen Health Care to provide clinical expertise.
The state is also working on a plan to replace the Waterbury hospital with new in-patient mental health facilities and satellite facilities across the state.