BRATTLEBORO - The Brattleboro Retreat psychiatric hospital could lose its federal Medicare and Medicaid funding if communication problems aren't fixed by July 30.
The Friday announcement from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services stems from its most recent survey of the Retreat on June 7, which states the "governing body" and "quality assessment and performance improvement program" were out of compliance.
Peter Albert, senior vice president for government relations at the Brattleboro Retreat, told the Reformer that staff are already working on an action plan. "We want to ensure that any communication regarding patient care, regardless of the level of its intensity, is shared with all appropriate staff," Albert said.
Senior medical and clinical staff met all afternoon Friday to review the document from CMS line-by-line and figure out how best to address the issues "well before the July 30 deadline," he said.
As the state's largest provider of psychiatric care, if the facility is unable to correct the issues and lost its funding and certification, it would be a huge strain on the state's already overburdened mental health system, Albert said.
The Retreat has taken on a bigger caseload after the state arranged for it to provide beds for mental health patients following the closure of the Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury from damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene.
According to Patrick Flood, commissioner for the Department
"The Department of Mental Health continues to have faith in the Brattleboro Retreat's commitment to provide quality services and is optimistic the Retreat will correct the deficiencies and remain certified for Medicare and Medicaid," Flood wrote in a press release.
Josh Stilts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.