Report: Hospital staffing matches its occupancyThe staffing pattern at the North Dakota State Hospital is on par with the occupancy rate, according to a report presented the hospital’s Governing Body at Monday’s quarterly meeting.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
The staffing pattern at the North Dakota State Hospital is on par with the occupancy rate, according to a report presented the hospital’s Governing Body at Monday’s quarterly meeting.
NDSH Superintendent Alex Schweitzer was stranded in South Dakota because of a snow storm, so Dr. Rosalie Etherington, clinical director for inpatient services, read his report.
The hospital occupancy rate for 2012 is 86 percent, which is in the range of the hospital’s staffing pattern of 85 percent occupancy, Etherington said.
In the past six years the annual admissions have grown by 141 patients to 1,237 in 2012. Still the number is not nearly as high as in 1997 when the NDSH admissions exceeded 1,700.
Etherington said one area that could potentially grow is the sex offender evaluation and treatment program, or secure services.
Currently three individuals are due to return to the program from prison, and the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has 26 referrals to local state’s attorneys recommending evaluation.
“Much discussion is currently taking place about expansion of our admission unit and remodeling to provide more security, safety and treatment for forensic patients in the LaHaug Building,” Etherington said.
She also gave an update on the closing of the Children and Adolescent Program. Youth patients, either intellectually disabled, or seriously emotionally disturbed, are now being referred to private inpatient psychiatric and residential facilities.
“We believe kids are better served in the appropriate community settings other than the State Hospital,” Etherington said.
In the past six months one youth was admitted to the NDSH, so the unit will remain open until that person’s transition is finalized.
The NDSH will, however, remain available for youth if need be. Situations will be handled on an one-to-one basis.
“The State Hospital will remain available as a safety net and placement option if community placements cannot be secured for youth with serious emotional disorders,” Etherington said.
Ken Schulz, NDSH chief operating officer, reported that despite federal decreases in funding, that the hospital was $272,868 in the black.
“In any case we know the federal half keeps dropping, and because of the federal law the State Hospital cannot collect Medicaid for individuals between the age of 21 and 65,” Schulz said. “So that certainly cuts down a lot in that area.”
He said in Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s proposed budget $864,714 is proposed to reconstruct 23rd Street Southeast and part of Circle Drive on the NDSH campus.
“If you drive that way when you leave you’ll see why we need to do this,” Schulz said.
An additional $5 million is also set aside in the proposed budget to upgrade to electronic health records.
In other news:
* Gina Guthmiller, human resource officer, reported that by 2017 32 percent of the NDSH full-time equivalent staff will have reached the point where they qualify for retirement. This means there is risk for significant losses in staffing.
* Dr. Ed Yabut, medical director, reported that Lucy Winer, director of “Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution,” will be on the campus on Jan. 9 for a screening and discussion.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org