Jerked Around By Politics?
In a recent commentary, I said some psych patients are being "jerked around by politics."
Respectfully, I welcome anyone to please change my mind if it's not so. How can it not be true, though?
Here's one unfortunate example. For a moment, lets revisit the county's August 14, 2012 Public
Information Meeting and what was said. Readers recall that the county behavioral health advisory
boards gathered for that public meeting, during which a power point presentation was made to explain
why the director approved a second hospital to be an inpatient county Medicaid behavioral health
Page 14 of that power point included this text under the "Other Challenges" heading: "Patients were
also being admitted to out-of-count hospitals, including Clarion Hospital, when Highlands was either full or,
for other valid reasons, could not admit a Fayette County patient."
Around that same time in late summer in 2012, meanwhile, Highlands reps reported here that their
facility had had no out of county transfers of psych patients yet that year.
In spite of what the power point notes said, Highlands has had only 41 patients medically cleared in
their ER who have had to be transferred to another psych hospital from Jan. 1, 2010 until the time
when their data was shared here in late August of 2012. Only 41 times did Highlands have no bed
available, in about 2000 admissions during that 2.5 year period.
A recent RTK answer listing out of county hospitalizations documents that Fayette County had 6
psychiatric transfers to Clarion Hospital, from March of 2012 through July of 2012, from an as of yet
So while the power point presentation was being written and presented last August and Highlands
Hospital staff present at the public information meeting spoke up to say power point information was
wrong, the county stood by its claim when it should have admitted error.
While that power point presentation was written and presented last August, the very county behavioral
health insurance administrators preparing and presenting the power point knew perfectly well that
Highlands had been unable to treat a very small percentage of people, by having to refuse only 41 of
about 2000 patients since 2010.
And while preparing and presenting that power point presentation, the county insurance administrators
knew very well that their department had just paid for 6 new hospitalizations for residents transferred
to Clarion, from March through July of 2012, reportedly by at least one hospital that was not Highlands.
Those 6 Clarion admissions, dating from February of 2012 through July of 2012, covered the period of
time when (1.) the county got a second Medicaid behavioral health inpatient insurance provider and (2.)
the time when the Highlands CEO wrote her letter to the commissioners that admissions had dropped
and asked for a written account of how another hospital was allowed to become a county provider.
Were those 6 psychiatric patients transferred to Clarion from another Fayette hospital in 2012? Lets
hope not. The next incoming RTK should tell.
If those 1-6 patients were medically cleared in another Fayette hospital emergency room, did anyone
first ask Highlands if they could accept any of those 6 transfers in 2012 who went to Clarion? Did
anyone first ask the patient and/or the patients' families if they wanted to opt for Highlands over
treatment 3 hours away at Clarion? Yes? No?
If not, then it is most fittingly fair to say that any and all of those 6 patients were jerked around,
inexcusably, by politics.
26 May 13
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