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Security Problems Surface At Osawatomie State Hospital

Phil Cauthon for KHI News Service

Security issues connected to a sexual assault are among the reasons the Osawatomie State Hospital is out of compliance with federal regulations. As Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim reports, federal officials are withholding Medicare payments until the problems are corrected.

Staffing shortages and security lapses at the state mental health hospital led to the reported sexual assault of a worker by a patient in October.

The female employee was assaulted while delivering gowns to patient rooms. Other patients came to her aide while the assault was in progress.

Federal inspectors determined the staffing and security issues that contributed to the incident were not isolated and ordered the state to come up with a corrective plan. A spokesperson for the state agency that oversees the hospital says said a plan was submitted but inspectors still found the facility to be out of compliance.

The inspectors' report said the cumulative effect of the hospital’s “systemic failure” to adequately supervise patient care and perform security checks placed all patients “at risk for harm.”

Federal Medicare payments made up nearly 25 percent of the hospital’s total budget last year.