For months, The Montana State Hospital has been facing a severe staffing shortage and investigations into employee and patient treatment.
"You know, I’ve lived in Anaconda for 27 years and I know a lot of the employees out there and I’ve been hearing for probably over two years about problems that just keep getting worse and worse," said State Senator Mark Sweeney.
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services report which was released last September detailed the death of a patient.
An excerpt from the CMS report stated that last August a patient had gone to nursing staff to complain about being short of breath. The report said nursing staff told her to "return to your room and stop being dramatic."
45 minutes later, the patient was found dead in her room.
During the investigation, a nurse admitted that the patient’s death could have been prevented saying, "We were very short-staffed that day."
The investigation found “that the facility failed to thoroughly investigate the unexpected death to show that neglect did not occur for and failed to ensure 1 to 1 staffing was maintained for fall prevention.”
Currently, 40% of the 524 staff positions within the hospital are vacant.
State Senator Sweeney says there will be a public hearing at the State Capitol where a panel will discuss the problems facing the facility.
"It’s beyond time for the state of Montana to look into this and see what’s going down and really drill down into the lack of management," said Sweeney.
The meeting to discuss issues at the Montana State Hospital will be held on January 21 at 1:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend in person or online here: http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00309/Harmony/en