Fairview escapes Medicaid cutoff

Fairview Developmental Center will continue to receive Medicaid funding as long as the hospital improves conditions, according to a news release issued by the California Department of Developmental Services.

The California Department of Public Health identified problems at Fairview involving patient care as "immediate jeopardy situations" in an evaluation last year.

The assessment put the hospital, which houses 322 developmentally disabled adults, at risk of losing certification and Medicaid funding.

In response to the evaluation, the Department of Developmental Services, or DDS, which runs the facility, signed a program improvement plan with the health department on Jan. 16 acknowledging the deficiencies.

"DDS recognizes these actions are necessary to ensure the health and safety of residents at the centers," DDS spokeswoman Nancy Lungren wrote in a news release.

In turn, the health department will halt its efforts to decertify Fairview for Medicaid funding.

Fairview has already started making improvements to patient care and will allow the health department to make unannounced visits to monitor the progress, the DDS release stated.

The health department licenses and certifies the centers, which are required to meet certain conditions to qualify for Medicaid, health department representative Corey Egel said in a previous interview.

Fairview was found deficient in areas related to staffing and patient safety during its May evaluation.

When the health department evaluated again in September, it found the hospital noncompliant with regard to active treatment and healthcare services, Egel had said.

The loss of Medicaid funding would have affected 188 residents, more than half of Fairview's patient population, Lungren said earlier this month.

The state's developmental centers have been facing problems for several years, according to a report published by the California Health and Human Services Agency.

In May 2013, the agency created a task force to develop a master plan to address ongoing problems like a declining population, aging infrastructure, staffing and resource constraints at the centers.

The task force outlined six recommendations in a 59-page report published Jan. 13.

Suggestions include developing community-style facilities to serve patients with a range of needs, creating an acute crisis facility — which is already in place at Fairview — to address patients with challenging behaviors, establishing a health resource center to assist residents in their transition out of the facilities, and repurposing or expanding current buildings.

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