License suspension has West Hills Hospital facing closure

Accreditation Connection, June 15, 2009

After a patient overdosed on pills she brought into Reno's West Hills Hospital (WHH), Nevada health officials intend to close the psychiatric hospital within the next 30 days and immediately suspend its license, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Due to four incidents in the past eight months, officials of the state Health Division's Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance believe the facility cannot ensure patient safety.

Complaints that have been investigated by officials in recent months include an adolescent patient hitting another patient, staff members lacking access to a locked adolescent unit,, and the attempted suicide of two unmonitored female patients by hanging nooses around their necks. The hospital had a three-day ban on new admission in early April, and was given a $5,800 fine relating to a December 25, 2008 attempted suicide and various violations of state regulations.

The 30-day notice allows the hospital to relocate the patients before its license revocation. "Our goal is to be back in full service to the community very soon, providing the quality of care and focus on patient safety that is the constant mission of our 200 staff members," West Hills spokesman John Van Mol told the Reno Gazette-Journal. WHH treats and serves children, adolescents, and adults who are seeking treatment for behavioral health issues such as depression, suicidal tendencies, and anxiety disorders.

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