Regulators approve Vermont psychiatric hospital's correction plan


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BRATTLEBORO, Vermont — Federal regulators have approved a plan by Vermont's Brattleboro Retreat to fix problems found in a recent failed inspection at the psychiatric hospital.

The hospital was warned that it could face another potential loss in federal funding if it did not submit a plan for corrective action this week.

The warning came after an inspection this summer in response to a fight in the hospital's adolescent unit, which resulted in four employees being sent to the hospital, according to Vermont Public Radio (

Inspectors determined that the Retreat acted appropriately but they found a problem involving inappropriate sexual behavior between two patients in the adolescent unit. The inspectors cited the hospital for not reporting the incident to its quality improvement team.

Regulators with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the Retreat should have taken more action to prevent contact between the patients, one of which has a history of sexual aggression and the other who had been sexually and emotionally abused.

Retreat spokesman Peter Albert said it was reviewed on the adolescent unit and reported to the state. He said the hospital's correction plan includes better communication, more information on patient history in treatment plans, in team meetings and other places.

"The people that we serve deserve to be in a safe setting where they're also going to get good clinical care," he said. "So that's really what the focus is about. How we get there evolves over time."

Northfield Rep. Anne Donahue, who is a member of the state's Mental Health Oversight Committee, said the hospital is expecting to undergo a return inspection on problems cited earlier this summer, some of which are related to recent suicide attempts.

Information from: WVPS-FM,

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