NOT OUT OF THE WOODS, BUT STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION
The Alaska Psychiatric Institute has had its accreditation renewed for psychiatric care from The Joint Commission, a designation that is good for the next three years.
Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said that API had been in immediate danger of losing its accreditation for behavior health care when he began to address the situation in December. “This provides further evidence that the actions we’ve taken over the last few months are making positive improvements for our patients and staff.”
DHSS hired Wellpath to take over the management of the chronically troubled psychiatric institute at about the same time the Joint Commission was conducting its on-site survey. During that survey, two requirements for improvement were noted for medical staff and physical environment, deficiencies were successfully addressed by API and Wellpath.
Further onsite visits and review by the Joint Commission showed the institution had complied with the standards.
The Joint Commission – an independent, nonprofit organization – evaluates health care organizations on standards related to care, treatment and services; environment of care; leadership; and screening procedures for early detection of imminent harm.
Accreditation by the commission indicates whether an institution is meeting the established standards for care, which in turn impacts licensing and certification for federal funding. Having the commission’s accreditation is just one certification that API must maintain. In its report, the commission has recommended API for continued Medicare certification to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.
The full report issued by the Joint Commission is available at this link.
In the House of Representatives, five Democrats have demanded the Department of Health and Social Services end the contract with Wellpath, which went into effect in February as an emergency measure to save the institution. Signing the letter were Democratic Reps. Zach Fields, Matt Claman and Ivy Spohnholz of Anchorage, Tiffany Zulkosky of Bethel, and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka.
The lawmakers want the second phase of the contract to be put out to bid and awarded according to unstated parameters, but the lawmakers noted that another company, Providence Health and Services, should be considered.