News Releases

January 15, 2009

U.S. DOJ Inspectors Issue Fifth Compliance Report on Vermont State Hospital as part of Memorandum of Agreement

In 2006, the State of Vermont and Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement regarding conditions at Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury. The DOJ required the State to implement reforms to ensure that patients at the facility were adequately protected from harm, and adequate services were provided, including mental health care.

The fifth and most recent compliance report, released on January 9, 2009 praised "the hard work done" by Vermont State Hospital staff. The report concluded that Vermont State Hospital continues to make significant improvements in many areas including treatment planning, mental health assessments, discharge planning and community integration, incident management and quality improvement.

"The staff of VSH at all levels should be most pleased with the improvements their efforts have yielded to date," DOJ investigators concluded. "As our report indicates, there remains much to be done, but VSH appears well on its way."

The hospital was scored as being in "significant compliance" with 85 percent of the nine key areas studied in the report.

The fifth compliance visit was conducted in October 2008 by two clinical experts (Dr. Mohamed El-Sabaawi and Dr. Jeffrey L. Geller) appointed by the DOJ to assess Vermont State Hospital. Over a four-year period, Dr. El-Sabaawi and Dr. Geller, along with DOJ attorneys, will regularly assess the state’s improvement.

"This is the second consecutive report that found no areas where Vermont State Hospital was non-compliant with DOJ’s previous recommendations," said Mental Health Commissioner Michael Hartman. "We are in the second year of a four-year evaluation process and the staff has done an outstanding job at staying focused on how they can provide the best possible treatment and care."

A report of findings and recommendations was first issued from the DOJ on July 5, 2005 following a three-day, on-site inspection by DOJ officials in September 2004. Since the first report of findings by DOJ in 2005, the Douglas Administration has substantially increased funding, staffing, and support for Vermont State Hospital.

The Department of Justice assessment report is posted on the Mental Health Department’s website at: http://healthvermont.gov/mh/programs/hospital/documents/DOJ_Report_01.09.09.pdf

Source: Department of Health
Last Updated at: January 15, 2009 08:50:05