HELEN, Mont. (AP) – The administrator of the Montana State Psychiatric Hospital is leaving his post amid the facility’s loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding for repeated breaches of health and safety standards, it was announced Thursday the state health department.
Kyle Fouts, who has run Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs since 2019, will begin work May 9 as an administrator at the Intensive Behavior Center in Boulder, the Montana State News Bureau reports. The center is a 12-bed short-term treatment facility for people with developmental disabilities,
The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had found patients at Montana State Hospital to be in “immediate danger” on several occasions in recent months before revoking federal funding for the hospital effective April 12. Payments for patients who were already in the hospital continue for another 30 days, but no new patients would qualify for Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements.
The hospital’s shortcomings included failing to separate patients with COVID-19 from those who were not sick. Three patients have died from COVID-19. Another patient died after repeated falls.
The hospital, which had about 142 patients in early April, is also understaffed and heavily reliant on traveling staff, the agency found.
Montana State Hospital also failed to adequately investigate the death of a patient in August 2021 after staff allegedly ignored her complaints that she was unable to catch her breath, CMS said.
In March, as the hospital struggled to avoid losing federal funding, a patient was violently assaulted by other patients, requiring hospitalization.
The facility is at least $7 million over budget due to hiring traveling staff at a higher cost, the health department said.
The hospital is reimbursed an average of $7 million a year through Medicaid and Medicare, out of about $47 million a year allocated to the facility by the legislature, state officials said.
Carter Anderson, inspector general for the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, will serve as acting director of Warm Springs State Hospital, the health department told state lawmakers. in an email.
The state also hired an outside contractor, Alvarez & Marsal, to assess state health care facilities at a cost of $2.2 million.
Fouts has 32 years of supervisory experience in the public sector. A message left on his work phone number seeking comment on Thursday was not immediately returned.
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