“As you may already know, HARI is the trade association and lobbyist for Rhode Island hospitals and, as such, is not a disinterested third party eligible for this comprehensive review,” wrote Morna A. Murray. “Indeed, the notion that HARI is best placed to conduct an ‘assessment’ of potential misconduct by any of its paying members, including those patients entrusting their care to ESH, is in fact mocked.”
Disability Rights Rhode Island is a federally funded organization that protects and advocates the legal rights of people with disabilities.
It has raised a number of concerns about Eleanor Slater, the financially troubled state hospital. The hospital has locations in Cranston and Burrillville. Patients have a wide variety of conditions. Some are on ventilators. Others were ordered by a court for psychological treatment.
There are several ongoing reviews of Eleanor Slater, including Disability Rights Rhode Island itself. It said it interviewed witnesses and sent requests for documents.
Though the investigation is ongoing, the advocacy letter to McKee Thursday identified issues such as serious patient rights violations, non-compliance with federal guidelines, improper layoffs, “irrefutable allegations by staff of patient neglect in the Zambarano Unit” and “a culture of Intimidation reported by numerous “named employees.”
Eleanor Slater is operated by the State Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.
The hospital association review won’t make things any better, Disability Rights Rhode Island said. The organization requested an external, independent expert with no professional connection to the hospital or its department.
“In addition to the lack of independent verification that HARI or its other member hospital systems would provide, other issues are emerging,” said Murray. “Also, the personal and professional connections between people appointed and / or employed by HARI, ESH and BHDDH are numerous. These links are worrying and can imply, if not create, intransparency and bias, not to mention the potential risks to patients with severe disabilities. “
Brian Amaral can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ bamaral44.
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