Virginia mental health facility loses its Medicare funding

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Medicare pulled its funding from a Virginia mental health institution this month.

Earlier in April, Eastern State Hospital received a termination notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Officials said it’s a citation for failing to comply with quality of care standards.

It’s been almost a year since India Johnson was arrested in the stabbing death of her mother in Virginia Beach. In mid-April she pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity; a judge agreed Johnson could not be criminally responsible.

Now her case is in the hands of the Virginia Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services. If she is ordered to remain in state custody she could be sent to Eastern State Hospital.

The same hospital that received a letter of termination of its Medicare from the federal government.

“Treatment planning, nursing intervention and also patient engagement and treatment,” Daniel Herr, the Assistant Commissioner of Virginia Behavioral Services, said. “It was those three areas that although progress was made it was not sufficient for the federal standards.”

Herr said changes in mental health laws placed a heavier burden on the facility.

“For example, they have experienced a 400% increase in the number of temporary detention orders that are admitted to their hospital.”

10 On Your Side asked Herr if the department has lost faith in the people in charge at the facility.

“I have complete confidence in the administration,” Herr responded.

The loss of funding is around $700,000. Herr said the state will fill the gap, and then move forward to re-apply for the Medicare funding.

“We also paid for a nationally recognized consulting group to conduct their own review and help us develop a plan to move forward,” Herr said. “That way we can meet those standards and request recertification.”

Herr said he believes there will be no loss of service for the patients.

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