The agency that accredits hospitals, prompted by what it called “patient safety concerns,” conducted a surprise inspection of troubled Bridgewater State Hospital late last month and gave the facility 45 days to respond to the findings or risk losing accreditation.
The Joint Commission did not release details of what it described as “a preliminary report” from the May 30 inspection. But Marylou Sudders, a former Massachusetts Department of Mental Health commissioner, said the agency does not “send their surveyors out unless there are serious allegations or concerns.”
Darren Duarte, spokesman for the Department of Correction, acknowledged the surprise inspection, which comes after a series of articles in the Globe highlighting a patient death and widespread use of restraints.
“We are currently engaged with the Joint Commission following their visit last month, including the number of steps we are taking to ensure patients at Bridgewater State Hospital receive appropriate care,” he said in a prepared statement.
Despite its name, Bridgewater is a medium-security prison housing about 280 men involved with the criminal justice system who are diagnosed as mentally ill. The Joint Commission has granted the facility accreditation as a behavioral health care provider, not as a hospital.
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