Providence decides not to reopen inpatient services at chemical dependency center

Staff writerJuly 15, 2014 

Providence St. Peter Hospital has decided to take its chemical dependency program in a new direction, part of which means it will not reopen its inpatient residential treatment center at its chemical dependency unit on College Street in Lacey.

The decision affects about 30 employees, such as nurses, housekeepers and counselors, but the center will continue to offer outpatient services to adults and adolescents, spokeswoman Deborah Shawver said Tuesday.

On an outpatient basis, the center serves 150 to 180 patients at any given time, she said.

As for the 30 employees affected by Tuesday’s announcement, the hospital will provide one-on-one support through the transition, Shawver said.

An affected worker could not immediately be reached.

The treatment center staff now stands at 21, she said.

No inpatients are affected by the decision because inpatient services had been closed since April, following a state and federal investigation into the death of a patient earlier this year.

The joint investigation into the Feb. 3 death by the state Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid found that staff at the Lacey-based facility did not follow a physician’s order on how frequently to monitor the patient’s vital signs, or notify the physician if the patient’s blood pressure fell below a certain level, according to an Olympian archive story.

Providence also submitted a corrective plan for deficiencies that was approved by investigators.

The entire experience for the hospital has led to a “very in-depth look at the whole operation,” and to “consider further where we wanted to go with the whole program,” Shawver said.

The result is that other changes are planned for the chemical dependency program, including working with community partners to strengthen adolescent chemical dependency prevention.

The hospital also is exploring options for relocating elective inpatient detox to another facility that offers 24/7 nursing care.

“We do not have all aspects of the program finalized, and we strongly believe that community partnerships are vital to finding solutions. We will continue to seek these partnerships and to advocate for adequate funding and resources for treatment,” hospital officials said in a statement.

Here’s how many inpatients, outpatients and detox patients the chemical center treated in 2013:

-Inpatient: 451 adults, 217 adolescents.

-Outpatient: 2,963 adults, 938 adolescents.

-Detox: 830 adults, 20 adolescents.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com @rolf_boone

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