By Dave Ranney
KHI News Service
TOPEKA — State officials have put together a plan for correcting 14 of the 30 deficiencies cited during a recent accreditation survey of Larned State Hospital.
The plan includes tightening procedures for prescribing and dispensing medications, developing an electronic health record system, raising nurses’ salaries and hiring 23 full-time workers.
Larned State Hospital is one of the three state-run hospitals for the mentally ill.
Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, said the plan has been forwarded for review by The Joint Commission, a national organization that accredits hospitals.
The remaining 16 deficiencies, she said, would be addressed in a second plan.
In March, The Joint Commission cited Larned State Hospital for not having enough nurses and for not doing enough to ensure that medications were safely dispensed. The findings put the hospital’s accreditation — and potentially $14.5 million in federal aid — in jeopardy.
Larned State Hospital was given 45 days to correct the 14 problems that The Joint Commission surveyors considered the most serious and 60 days to correct the remaining 16 deficiencies.
The 45 days ended May 5 and the 60-day period ends May 20.
“SRS believes it has satisfactorily addressed the concerns raised by the Joint Commission’s 45-day action items,” de Rocha wrote in an email to KHI News Service. “We will address the indirect (60-day) findings by next Friday,” which would be May 18.
The agency, she said, expects The Joint Commission to conduct an unannounced follow-up visit to the hospital in June, July or August.
The initial correction plan states that legislators have agreed to add $1.9 million to Larned State Hospital’s $61.6 million budget, effective July 1. The additional funding will be used to hire 23 full-time workers and to underwrite “salary increases to the licensed nursing staff to create parity with the surrounding markets.”
The plan notes that a change in new-patient admission policies has allowed registered nurses to remain on their units.
Earlier, the hospital had been cited for registered nurses “occasionally” being called away to help assess new patients, leaving their units without a nurse.
The plan also states that hospital Supt. Christopher Burke will conduct regular reviews of the staffing vacancies, turnover and overtime hours.
According to the March survey, 12 of the hospital’s 27 registered nurse positions were vacant and 21 of the 76 licensed practical nurse positions were vacant.
The hospital has been without an on-campus medical director since January.