AUGUSTA — The Augusta Mental Health Institute has been taken off a watch list of troubled hospitals following changes made since the murder of a patient.
Federal and state regulators say they are pleased with improvements made at AMHI since the stabbing death of Wrendy Hayne. Hayne was allegedly killed by a fellow patient, Harold Pulsifer.
“I think they’re taking the corrective procedures seriously and working with them well,” said Louis Dorogi, director of the Maine Department of Human Services’ Division of Licensing and Certification.
“Based on our reviews, I think they’re in compliance with their conditional license and they are making many additional improvements,” he said.
Dorogi said the steps taken by Acting Superintendent Rodney Bouffard impressed federal officials. In a July 31 letter, the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration said AMHI had met Medicare requirements.
The hospital’s state license will be conditional for an entire year. But Dorogi said he was impressed with the steps Bouffard and his staff have taken to bring the hospital into compliance with state standards.
Katie Fullam, spokeswoman for Mental Health Commissioner Melodie Peet, said the decision to lift the federal restrictions came as the result of the concentrated efforts of many people in the department. She said the improvements were made with little or no additional money or resources being shifted to the state hospital.
“We’ve worked very hard to bring the hospital into compliance. Rod Bouffard and his team continue to concentrate on the quality of care for clients, and we’re pleased and not surprised that the hospital has been found back in compliance,” Fullam said.
After the AMHI murder, a state panel faulted hospital staff for failing to recognize the abusive relationship between Pulsifer and Hayne. It also noted that Pulsifer had keys to the storage room where Hayne was killed and described a lack of continuity in Pulsifer’s care at AMHI.